Saturday, November 12, 2005

Grackle Update

Common Grackle
Many trees in Central Park lost their leaves during the last blustery few days. Most of the city's trees have at least begun the process of color-turning, while have have finished and their leaves are brown, ready to fall. But the ten Bradford Callery Pear trees that form a half-circle around the Pulitzer Fountain at the park's south-east corner are still dark green and leafy.

That may be why the grackles and starlings I've been monitoring for the last few months -- certainly more than a thousand birds-- are still using the trees as a communal night roost . They flocks start arriving these days about 4:15 , and by a few minutes after 5--that is, fifteen or 20 minutes after sunset -- night has fallen and the birds are settling in for the night.

I know that the large numbers of tourists milling around the Pulitzer fountain, looking up at the shapely though clothing-deficient Goddess [Pomona] at the fountain's top, do not read this website, for not a single one of them ever seems to notice the drama taking place in front of their very eyes -- a huge, humongous number of birds funneling into 10 rather small trees .

But it won't be long before the trees finally shed their leaves too -- they are deciduous, after all. And certainly by then the birds will have headed south.