About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why is the blackbird associated with evil and ill omens?

The RavenImage by Ben Templesmith via Flickr
Why are birds with black plumage the subject of so many unpleasant stories and superstitions all over the world?

The only conclusion that I can come to is because a lot of these black colored birds are clever enough to out smart people. Crows, Grackles, and Starlings are very intelligent birds and tend to work together in family groups to get what they want and what they want is a lot of food generally.

When they go after birdseed we’ve designated for Cardinals only there is always a problem. They can empty a feeder in a day and a suet feeder in minutes. But that doesn’t mean they are any less deserving.

I wonder if they were brilliant red or indigo blue if they would be more loved or excused of their “bad habits"? Most of the black colored birds aren’t beautiful songster either, but they can learn to imitate human speech. Although that didn't help the image of the bird in Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven".

Most blackbirds are also good scavengers and clean up many road kills or garbage littering the roads. In the fall you can watch them gather in large roosts. This sometimes includes millions of birds that blanket groups of trees or fly in intricate patterns across the sky.

Now that Halloween has passed lets look again at our black feathered friends and see if we can find something nice to say about the much maligned black birds.
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Anonymous said...

I love Blackbirds. Have you ever looked at them in the sun? They look like little rainbows. Beautiful colors in those feathers.

Joy K. said...

If it wasn't for grackles, we'd be smothered by the enormous piles of uneaten french fries in the nation's parking lots.

Feeding Wild Birds said...

I think blackbirds are beautiful, I love their orange beaks and eyes which sharply contract against their black feathers. I also love starlings and think they are very amusing. Their feathers look lovely, all shiny and iridescent in the breeding season.

Kirk Mona said...

Blackbirds are some of the most underrated birds in the world.

Anonymous said...

When a tiny bell rings, an angel gets its wings. When a blackbird gets its wings, everyone keeps trippin.