Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Four + twenty blackbirds

photo, Diane Carnevale

One sure harbinger of spring is when the red-winged blackbirds arrive. Four and twenty blackbirds, if not more, were extraordinarily happy that I put out some sunflower seeds after a snow storm last weekend. They were going crazy, and looked striking against the white blanket of snow. The blackbirds have a curious squawk, and can't be missed. Read about the history of the children's nursery rhyme and song "Sing a song of sixpence" here, where cooks did strange things with blackbirds, like "bake" them into pies to delight kings!

Sing a song of sixpence 
Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

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