Blackbirds singing, cawing, whatever, in the dead of night

Conference of Rooks

Blackbirds, rooks, crow, ravens…whatever you call them, these birds are almost a trope in contemporary art, reminiscent of a Victorian Goth aesthetic. They are often considered ill omens. Unless, that is, they frequent your Mexican doorstep, twice the size of any normal birds, chattering away. You have to get used to them. Here in Playa del Carmen, at any rate, there are only rooks rather than the enormous turkey vultures that used to buzz around the patio in Merida. These two videos from the New York art fairs this past March capture how noisy these birds can be.

Kristof Kintera at Jiri Svestka Gallery, Armory 2010

Personally, I’ve had the creeps over birds ever since seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds years ago. Moving to New York city and being surrounded by pigeons as clean as rats didn’t help my aversion. The turkey buzzards probably made it worse, and now a neighborhood rooster wakes me up around 6 every morning. I am not fond of birds.

What is it about these fellows that captures the imagination anyhow?

4 thoughts on “Blackbirds singing, cawing, whatever, in the dead of night

  1. I love crows and feel an affinity for them and believe they are my totem animal.

    I was once at a business meeting in a patio and a crow sat on the wall and squawked everytime this woman opened her mouth. As soon as the meeting was over it flew off. I took it as an omen and was I glad I decided against joining the business deal because it was a real rip off and my friend really got bruned.

  2. You wouldn’t like my bathroom – there’s a blackbirds’ nest right outside it.

    To my surprise, both parents take it in turns to look after the chicks, who are almost as big as the adults.

    I’ve also discovered that blackbird chicks apparently have to leave the nest and live on the ground several days before they can fly. The local cats love that!

    I used to love Hitchcock’s film and made a pilgrimage to Bodega bay, where it was filmed. But only a few miles before I got there, a truck went into the back of me and destroyed my car (and nearly me too). Did a bird distract the driver?

    I never did get to see Bodega Bay.

  3. I have a love-hate relationship with crows– I like them in paintings, and art- and in poetry and writings- and there was a time I really wanted a crow’s skull for an assemblage–and finally settled for a replica of a crow skull— but I hate them when they hang around my squirrel feeder and bully the smaller birds

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