When the Beatles sang “blackbird singing in the dead of night…” as a metaphor for the civil rights struggle, I’m guessing they had no idea how confusing that would be to Americans. Our blackbirds go graaaaaaak.
But, sonofabitch, it turns out the British blackbird is a whole ‘nother species — Turdus merula (stop laughing, you in the back!) — and it has a great song. A burbling, silly, happy, random thing. It sounds just like — if you’ll permit me a metaphor without any poetry in it at all — a bird version of the mechanical stylings of R2D2.
We have one in the garden. I don’t know if he really follows me around, or if his sound is so distinctive I’m just highly aware of him whenever he’s out there.
That’s him, at the peak of the roof. (Note the bottle cemented into the masonry; we still haven’t worked out what that means). I waited ages for him to fly away so I could get a picture of him taking off, but he out-waited me. There’s only so long I can stand with a camera pressed to my face.
How do I know it’s just the one? Our blackbird is a bit leucistic — his head is mostly white.
I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something, too.