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Goodbye to the Boss

I have put off writing this post since the end of May. But I finally have to admit defeat:  Boss, my blackbird pal for the last six years is gone. I don’t know exactly why, could be death, could have gone off with a mate, as it would seem that this yard must be stuffed with his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren…


A much younger Boss-man-bird from four summers back. He’s all black now, and beak and eye rim are a burnt orange.

A lot of my time working from home was taken up with Boss being fed and ensuring he had food to feed his young. And when I wouldn’t come to him, he would come to me, mainly through the front door, down the hall. He had the run of the house, garage etc.


Boss boy in repose

Now, there’s only one bird I know when I go out into the garden, a young female who I’d like to think might be a daughter based on how she interacted with Boss last winter. But, still not the same relationship with Boss.  There is also a young male who was something of a Boss doppelganger last winter, copying everything Boss did to get food.


Two of the last photos of Boss in May 2019



And that’s kind of the point about them being strangers: they got close to me because they saw how Boss was with me and they copied him. Now, with no Boss, how will I get to know other birds? I’m hoping the young female sticks around. She had her first babies this summer and relied on me somewhat for food. She’s around now, stalking me in the garage, following me around the yard. Maybe she will stay long enough for me to give her a name.

Boss_May 2017


Boss on his command post, with a male sparrow sidekick

As for Boss, it maybe behavior similar to the that in the photo above which might have caused his downfall. At that time, towards the end of May, he was hitting all the high spots in the yard–tall trees, telephone poles, chimney pots, guttering–all pumped up with testosterone and loudly proclaiming. Every once in a while, he would swoop down when I shook the feed bucket at him, but then he would be straight back up to whatever command post he had been occupying.

I’m still hoping that with family season gone for another year, he might be back if he gets hungry enough.  I still call him every so often.  But, it’s probably time to say goodbye.


All photos, except for the last, courtesy of Tony John

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