Many More Rusty Blackbirds and a Windfall of Pecans

After several gray, chilly, rainy days, today was clear, sunny, and cool – though not cold. As usual in this busy holiday season, it was late in the day before I got outside for a walk, near sunset, and birds seemed scarce and quiet.

Then I began hearing Robins, Grackles and other Blackbirds, and came up over a hill and found a large flock of birds spread across the grass beneath pecan trees in several yards. Among them were a few Common Grackles, American Robins and European Starlings, but by far most of the birds were Rusty Blackbirds. There were many more birds in this flock than in the one I saw about a month ago, at least 300 Rusty Blackbirds, a conservative estimate.

Many of the Rusty Blackbirds were eating pecans – probably most of them were – and all were very active, moving around a lot, so the scene was lively and felt like a party, with a festive, busy and slightly frenzied mood. I watched several Rusty Blackbirds carrying what appeared to be whole pecans in their bills, running with them across the grass to escape competing birds. This has been a good year for pecans here, so there are plenty on the ground in many yards. Maybe the abundance was a cause for a kind of celebration – or at least an enthusiastic gathering.

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