Why do flocks of black birds suddenly take over your yard? We asked an expert.

Some people believe flocks of black birds hanging out in our yards mean warm weather is coming.

Is this true?

Nope, says our expert with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birds do not predict the weather.

But it is true that migration is underway for most birds in mid-March and April, and that likely accounts for the flocks. But migration is not tied to local weather conditions, she said.

“There is no truth to the statement that such flocks of birds foretell the weather,” said Pat Leonard, media relations manager for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“These species form large groups on the wintering grounds and during migration, and they roam widely when foraging for food or when roosting together.”

Which birds are in my backyard?

If you’re seeing flocks of blackbirds in the Triangle, Leonard thinks they are likely European Starlings, Common Grackles or Brown-headed Cowbirds.

To see photos of each bird, visit eBird.org/explore and search the species name.

Many North Carolinians will also spot flocks of American Robins, the most numerous bird in North America (and a permanent resident of North Carolina).

“American Robins do flock in large numbers toward the end of winter — just before they migrate back to where they came from,” Leonard said.

In spring, adult American Robins are often found feeding worms to their spotted young on lawns. In fall and winter, local birds will flock together, while many in the north will move down south to spend the cold months, according to the Carolina Bird Club. Flocks numbering in the thousands are usually found in February and March.

Plus, the birds can flock anywhere they find suitable: “It’s not just a backyard thing,” Leonard said.

Triangle Asked & Answered: What do you want to know?

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