Do you remember the old Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds? Tippi Hedron in her pillbox hat and white gloves, getting out of her car to pump gas, and being attacked by, you guessed it, the birds? This fall, we seem to be in the flight path of some major migrations, and several times now, I have found myself in the middle of a swirling, whirling, cackling host of grackles. (Is there a noun that denotes a group of grackles, like a murder of crows?)
The first time it happened, I was driving my daughter to basketball practice. The car was totally surrounded, and so many birds were crossing in front of the car that I had to stop in the middle of the road. The sound of beating wings was palpable, even with the windows closed. It really freaked my daughter out, but I was sitting there with a big grin on my face -- too cool!
The second time was a few days later. I heard the sound of beating wings, and scratching bird feet on the roof, and their loud, raucous calls. I ran outside with my camera, and felt like I was in the middle of a maelstrom. Birds were in the sky, on the roof, in the trees. They were loud and, well, joyous. Does that sound silly? Maybe it was just that I was joyous, to be in the center of such a group. Somehow, though, they seemed excited to be going on their seasonal roadtrip. Are we there yet?
Then, in a rush of wings, they lifted up as one and wheeled through the sky, like a giant black velvet ribbon.