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Story Time: Birds of a Feather

Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 12:41 pm

It was like a flashback from two years ago. In the days after my husband’s death, a cloud of black birds landed in my yard. I don’t know if they were technically “black birds”, but they were big and black and ominous. Those “bleak December” birds reminded me of ravens and the dark words of Edgar Allen Poe. I didn’t like those birds in my yard then, and I don’t like them in my yard now.


These creatures fly in flocks, or herds or clusters or cults, whatever it is you call bird gangs that travel together. I just know these black birds are everywhere; hundreds of them pecking in my yard, squawking in my trees, and haunting my waking hours.

Just like they did two years ago.

I am not bird smart; however, I do have a bird feeder that I fill to entice pretty birds, colorful birds, and singing birds. I watch over the birds that land in my feeder which are not anything like the birds that landed in my yard.


On the highway to my mother’s house, the birds are everywhere. They dip and dive, swoop and swirl in a mysterious cloud of movement and motion. Up ahead, there is spilled grain on the side of the highway, and the swarm lands to feast. Then, a car would drive by and the flock would leave, only to land and leave, land and leave, over and over and over. That meant when you drove by that highway spot, you drove through a constant cluster of flying feathers.

Then, on to wash your car.

I watched these birds of a feather who more than flock together, and ask out loud who the heck was in charge. As the feathered fowls flurried overhead, they followed a pace and pattern that was wild with beauty and obviously well practiced. There were so many birds trying to keep up that I wondered whether the bird in front ever checked on the ones in the back? Or, if the leader ever listened to the squawks around him, or noticed the ones that never rest because nothing ever changes?

Does any of this sound familiar?

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard