12 September 2012

A Kentucky Bird Story

A sight so strange that it would pay strangers to come miles to see occurs every night, five miles south of this place, on the Cedar Bluffs of the Cumberland River. Every evening just about sundown the sky is darkened as far as the eye can see by great flocks of birds coming to roost in these cedars. Your correspondent, accompanied by a native and a lantern, spent a couple of hours last night among the cedars watching this wonderful congregation of every tongue, plumage, and almost every country this side of the tropics. Startled by our approach great clouds of the chattering tribe would rise from their perches in the cedars and fly off with a noise like deep and distant thunder. We had to scream at the top of our voices to hear one another speak. Large limbs of the trees were broken off, caused by the accumulated weight of birds. Hundreds, blinded by our lantern, would fly into our faces. We could pick thousands of them from the branches of the trees. But what seemed so strange about this bird convention was the seeming peace and harmony that existed between the birds. The hawk and dove roosted in perfect safety around the perch of large owls. In the early morning when these songsters of the groves left their perches in the cedars for the fields of the open country it was a most beautiful and gorgeous sight to behold. With the blue of the jay, the crimson and red of the fence wren and red bird, the yellow and gray of the yellow and sparrow birds seemed like some grand and splendid panorama of the floral kingdom endowed with the power of music moving through the air in a procession composed of all the colors of the rainbow. Hundreds of people come every night to see this strange wonder. A great many poor people gain almost their entire support by catching and selling these birds. — Somerset (Ky.) Special to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

April 23, 1881. Colfax Chronicle 4(24): 2. Also issued March 31, 1881 in the Columbus Journal.