Migratory phenomenon

red-winged blackbird

Red-winged blackbird

Donna Risner, Logan County Electric Cooperative

Q. Hi, Chip: Each evening about 7 p.m. back in late September, just before dark, black-colored birds began to fly in over our farm and join up with other similar birds above the wooded acres next to ours.  I googled the behavior, and ebird said that they are nocturnal migratory birds preparing for the next leg of their journey south. There are literally thousands upon thousands of dark-colored birds that all look exactly alike. It is an amazing event! I was born and raised on a farm, and often as a kid lay in the yard staring up at the sky, but I don’t remember this wonder. Can you tell me what kind of birds these are?

A. I believe what you are seeing, Donna, are red-winged blackbirds, possibly with a few starlings mixed in. I’ve seen this migratory phenomenon you’re describing a few times myself, and it’s truly awesome — lucky you!