What if it quacks kinda/sorta like a duck but it’s flying overhead after midnight and you can’t see it?
What if it sounds like it has more than a dozen buddies, making the same, vaguely-familiar calls and as soon as one flock has gone out of hearing distance, another one comes flying over, making the same sounds? All of them seemed to be headed due south.
This happened one night, early last week. Sometimes flocks on these mysterious flyers would be a few hundred yards up or down the road as they passed over at elevations of a few hundred feet. I’m assuming they were some sort of migrating waterfowl but I had never heard anything, other than wild geese, making such a racket while flying. I assure you that these birds sounded nothing like any geese I’ve ever heard. They sounded more like squirrels than something that must have been decked out in feathers.
I tried to get Loretta out of bed to come out and listen to them, but, unlike her bed fellow, my wife is not currently going through one of those phases where her days and nights have gotten mixed up. She was not the least bit curious as to why large flocks of calling birds might be flying over in the pitch-black darkness after midnight.
I thought about calling my buddy, Ralph King, in Berea, to see if he could hear any birds flying over his place, even though it’s more than 10 miles from Charlie Brown Road. However, I figured Ralph would be even less amused than Loretta and that it was probably prudent to let sleeping dogs lie.
I believe the first mystery was on Monday night, well into early Tuesday morning. In any event, I was awake, reading a novel, well into the post midnight hours, again, the following night. I decided to step outside to see if I could hear them again, but this time there was no mystery about it. I hadn’t even set down to fire up my pipe, before hearing the unmistakable honking of a large flock of geese, also headed south, directly over our house. During the 15 or so minutes I sat there, three more, invisible to my eyes, noisy flocks of geese passed overhead, within easy hearing distance of the porch.
To make a long story short, I heard geese flying over, during the wee hours, four consecutive night last week. On one such night, it was even pouring rain. However, I have not heard the mysterious, “squacking”, sound since that first occasion, nor have I heard any nighttime honking, that didn’t involve an automobile, since those few nights.
On the other hand, I did just witness the largest flock of robins, at least a thousand strong, that I ever seen. The hay field in front of my house is approximately 40 yards wide and well over 300 yards in length.
Just after noon on Saturday, while sitting on my usual front porch perch, I heard, what sounded like, a strong gust of wind coming from directly behind the house, but not a leaf was stirring.
Almost immediately, a huge shadow darkened the ground in front of me as hundreds of robins began settling onto the recently mowed field. For the next two or three minutes it looked like it was raining robins beside our little road. In short order the hay field appeared to be covered, from end to end and side to side, with very plump, if not slightly overweight, robins.
They mostly just stood there and didn’t appear to be looking for food. They didn’t seem to be talking to one another and what little motion they made seemed to be ruffling/fluffing their feathers.
I sat still, just watching them, for probably five minutes or more, before it occurred to me that I ought to be getting pictures of the phenomenon. Apparently some of them saw me stand up, at which point they took to the air with a noisy, whirring, flapping of wings as they headed on, southbound.
I’m not sure what to make of mysterious waterfowl and wild geese flying in droves after midnight. The sudden appearance of a hoard of robins is also puzzling.
My late Uncle, Stevie Craft, would have said these unusual occurrences were a sure sign of something but that it’s untelling what it’s apt to be.