Our grandson Paul hurried up the steps to our back porch, somewhat out of breath, asking, “Grandpa, did you ever see seventy-five Bobolinks in one flock?”
“Now, Paul,” I answered, “are you sure?”
“Yes, I counted them in our neighbor’s corn field twenty minutes ago!” he replied.
Our granddaughter Mary and her husband Alvin had stopped in this Sunday afternoon, and, of course, we invited them to join us for the evening meal. While the food was being prepared, we sat watching all the activity around our bird feeders.
When Paul arrived, we were within minutes of getting to the table. According to Grandma, we couldn’t chase these birds just yet!
After the meal, Alvin said, “Let’s see if we can find those birds Paul told us about.”
Binoculars draped around our necks, we headed to the neighbor’s corn field. As we approached the field, we noticed about a dozen birds perched on a small tree. With our binoculars, we could see the yellowish sparrow-like birds also scattered on top of corn stalks and weeds. Slowly we crept closer, stopped, and started counting. We found over seventy Bobolinks, all in their winter plumage. Suddenly something spooked the flock, and lots more birds we hadn’t seen erupted from low weeds and grass growing among the corn.
Yes, Paul was a bit off with his estimate. There were well over 100 of these grassland birds in the air.
After circling a time or two, they landed again. Obviously they were enroute to their winter home in the southern half of South America.
I don’t remember ever seeing this many Bobolinks in one flock before. We were delighted and again awed by this amazing spectacle called migration.