Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I have witnessed the migration of the starlings

It is an awesome and fearsome sight. Actually I have seen them twice.

The first time was back in the 80's. I was taking a short walk because I was rehabing my foot that had been run over. I lived way out in the country in a place called Frog's Creek, West Virginia. I was a couple of hundred yards from my trailer and all of a sudden I heard a tremendous roar and the the entire mountain became black with millions of birds. If there weren't millions of them I can guarantee you there were hundreds of thousands.

It was fall and there were no leaves on the trees. Every tree was covered from top to bottom as well as the forest floor. I could see nothing but a black, seething mass of birds as far as I could look in any direction. There trilling and whistling was deafening and I was terrified. I knew if they took off that they would be forced to fly into me by the sheer number of birds. I wouldn't be an actual attack, just lack of space, and I was crippled and could barely walk.

I made my way to my neighbors house. They weren't home so I wedged myself between the storm door and the door of the house. It wasn't much protection but it was better than nothing. I had never heard of the migration of the starlings before. I thought it was some freak of nature that Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud to have filmed.

When the birds took off it was like watching the crowd at the superbowl do the wave. The thunder clap was as loud as any thunderstorm and I could physically feel the concussion of air hit me just as if someone had set off an explosion. I watched the birds take off and land in a rolling motion all across the face of the mountains along the whole side of the hollow I was in.

It was one of those times I was truely awestruck and truely afraid by what I was seeing in nature.

Then I saw them again back in 2005. I was living on Sand Plant Road just south of Charleston on Corridor G at this time. There weren't nearly so many of them but once again the mountain in front of my house was covered by thousands of seething, rolling, trilling, screaming birds. I was in my house this time and I knew what I was seeing. I just set back and enjoyed the show.

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