Blackbird Flock Departing

In Albums: birds favorites

A somewhat chaotic jumble of blackbirds, flying out of trees and departing

Nov 13th, 2006, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows a blackbird flock, departing from a roost in some trees in my neighborhood in Newark, DE. This flock consists mostly of common grackles; flocks in the area sometimes also contain red-winged blackbird and brown-headed cowbird; other blackbirds are exceedingly rare in this area.

I love the chaotic jumble of this flock, a delicate balance of order and chaos. Blackbirds are very social animals, but they are also rather intelligent, and when you watch an individual bird, it is balancing its own desire to go where it wants to go with its idea of where the flock is going. Some go ahead, some lag behind. I find blackbird flocks to generally be more orderly than crow flocks and more chaotic than flocks of starlings.

Blackbird flocks also tend to fly in long ribbons, whereas starling flocks tend to form rounder clouds and move as a big bubble-like unit.

The departing process depicted in this photo started gradually and continued in fits and starts, for an extended period of time. I took many photos but this is one of my favorites as I think it captures the balance of order and chaos evident in the organization of this flock.