Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Sound Of One Mike Clapping

This is my favorite time of the year because of the return of the cold snap and the chance to bundle up against it.

But I undeniably hate the way the starlings start gathering in cliques and then in groups and then in flocks and then in huge protoplasm-like masses filling the sky progressively as the daylight gives way to dusk. There is one place in every neighborhood where I have lived in which they start gathering and joining up with other groups, and circling and landing in every available tree. After a few hours they finally flock off to their enormous swarm; the biggest horde that I have seen fills the skies and the trees and the electric lines over in South Nashville near the Fairgrounds where Craighead meets Nolensville Pike. It is quite a show if you ever drive through there at dusk and it is possibly one of the most disgusting daily sights in Nashville.

But before they all join up in that final meeting place, groups of between 50 and 100 always manage to cluster together somewhere around my house showering everything below the now deleafed treeline with little packages from their bowels, usually made up of reconstituted hack berries. They hit everything; the house, the cars, the yard, the dog. They make it unsafe to be out.

So if you are ever strolling through Salemtown and hear some nut in his back yard clapping loudly, you can assume it's me, because starlings hate loud noises and I hate how starlings afflict my favorite time of the year.


  1. Bottle rockets. Fire bottle rockets into the trees. Starlings hate that.

  2. I tried that before, and it works very well, but I traumatized my neighbor's dog. So, I decided to scale back to clapping and maintain good will with those who live around me. I have been tempted, though ....