you're reading...
Assorted Wildlife

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


10 thoughts on “Goodbye to the Boss

  1. What a lovely goodbye for a good friend. I too have a “boss” blackbird that gives me much joy. I sure hope your Boss turns up again.

    Posted by Kitty Temperley | November 5, 2019, 5:28 pm
  2. I feel so sad for you reading this and also remembering our hedgehogs, who disappeared midsummer last year. I hadn’t realised quite how much my life revolved round feeding them and I kept hoping they, or at least some friends, would appear this spring. i have to accept now that there are none left in our area.

    Posted by hilarycustancegreen | November 5, 2019, 10:27 pm
  3. Awe, sniff. I hope he just found someone offering up different seeds, or maybe a new partner? I’m impressed that you name some of your birds.

    Posted by Tina | November 6, 2019, 3:42 am
  4. Sorry about your news. There is something very special when a human forges some kind of relationship with a wild creature.
    Do you have any issues with incoming Scandinavian (well I think they are!) blackbirds, here there are all sorts of squabbles at certain times of the year and I wonder if he had been displaced?

    Posted by philipstrange | November 11, 2019, 5:05 pm
    • Oh, yes, we have ‘ferreners’ every year. However, usually by spring they have made their way(s) home. He and a couple of other local males had carved up the garden by May. There were squabbles and incursions, but everyone seemed relatively unscathed…

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | November 15, 2019, 4:38 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

My Latin Notebook

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 195 other followers

%d bloggers like this: