The birds seem to materialize out of nowhere in the sky because they are flying relatively high, though I know they are just gathering together from scattered locations where they have been foraging all day. They are silent - black specks all streaming determinedly in one direction. It's easy to count hundreds of birds in only a few minutes of watching. If they were all lumped together, it would be a spectacle, but since they're spread thinly in time and space, they constitute more of an imagined spectacle. Nevertheless, I'm impressed every time I take a late evening walk.
Last week, I was treated to a real spectacle - only the second one I have ever observed in my life. Looking over toward the roosting forest, the robins were swirling in the air in an amazing cloud of coordinated flying called a murmuration. It only lasted a few seconds - alas, too short for Kali, who has weak eyesight, to get a fix on it - but I saw it happen and was transfixed for that moment.
(The images accompanying this post are borrowed from the Internet.)
_____My municipal historical society's newsletter recently republished a recipe for pigeon stew that first appeared in the local newspaper's October 18, 1873 edition. The recipe concludes with the sentence, "Robins are delicious cooked in the same way." Is it any wonder Passenger Pigeons are extinct?