Four and Twenty Black Birds

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Wallace Stevens

A family of common blackbirds have made my place home! They spend a lot of their time flitting about, bathing in the water bowls I have scattered around the place and foraging amongst the composted undercover in my garden.

The Common Blackbird could almost be regarded as the archetypal garden bird in southern Australia. Since its first introduction from Europe back in the 1860’s it has become established in many of the parks and gardens in the south-east, particularly in cooler regions such as the highlands of NSW, (it is common in Canberra) southern Victoria and SA and especially Tasmania where it is very common and widespread.

The adult male is black with a deep-orange to yellow beak, a narrow orange to a yellow ring around its eye, and dark legs. The female is grey-brown, with some streaks or mottling, and its back is darker than its belly. The female also has a paler chin than the male, a dull yellow-brown beak, dark legs, and the ring around her eye is less bright. Young birds are also brown but with lighter underparts and a dark grey or black beak.

Blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground. Its locomotion includes walking, climbing and hopping forward and backwards. They forage for food in open spaces although the cover is always nearby. When foraging in leaf litter under trees they sound like people walking. They remind us of the importance of remaining grounded in the earth energies.

The poet, Wallace Stevens was a constant and deep listener. In 1923 he wrote the legendary poem, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird’, a poem which has been endlessly paraphrased.

Bird People should remember that all birds are messengers of the Great Spirit.

When blackbird flies into your life your connection with nature and the forces of creation increase. The magic of the underworld surfaces in your life. Awareness is heightened and change on a cellular level begins. The blackbird teaches us about enchantment and how to acknowledge our power and use it to its fullest. Black Bird is asking us to embrace our own talents and reveal them to the world.

In the springtime, Blackbird is heard whistling beautiful songs from dawn until dusk. Blackbird cannot hold their talent back. Blackbird flies alone and does not typically form flocks. They may associate with other birds that share their same habitat, otherwise, they are doing their own thing.

Common Blackbird Lessons

Singing from an Elevated Perch
A Foraging We Go
Magical Healing Voices
Deep Listening

Common Blackbird Art, Music and Literature

Graeme Chapman
Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird