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March 18th  2011    Tim Candler

    Temperatures into the low eighties. And I would offer adjectives to weather, but that way lies doom, high winds and frost..  

    I had a wonderful chance to see Grackles today.  They have spent the winter flocking with Starlings and now they settle into colonies so that new Grackles might be made. 

     What is it, I wonder, about colonies that give stature and confidence to birds and puts in my mind an idea of city life, alive with gossip and innuendo and showoff and chaotic nest making .

     I once saw a stuffed Passenger Pigeon in a museum near the Ohio River.  Their species enjoyed the flock, they probably also raised their young in huge colonies, and there is an argument that suggests their extinction  followed a decrease in the size of their flocks, as much as it had to do with hunting them 

     The few that remained just could not bring themselves to breed in silent, careful places, or to make tidy nests.  Barn Swallows have neat nests, and they too enjoy their flock, thousands of them can gather.  But as long as there are two of them they will try to make babies.

   Tidiness  is quiet I suppose. 

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