Sheri Samson A birds nest can be seen under the golden arches of the McDonalds sign.

Sheri Samson
A birds nest can be seen under the golden arches of the McDonalds sign.

With the safety of height, perched on the symbol of a famous food source, a local blackbird made “her nest” within the large “golden arches” in Hawthorne. Going through the drive-through window of McDonalds, the clerk was able to share a few facts about their settled guest.

“A mischievous blackbird lives up there – wise as a wizard. Found a really safe spot, probably gets some warmth from the sign’s heat, but most of all she has access to every dropped french-fry on the property. You can see her swoop down, all around the dirt parking lot, scavenging food pieces. She’ll take it up to the nest to eat later. Who knows what all she stashed up there, since she’s always searching the area.”

Confirming that this is in fact a Blackbird, they are a smaller bird, with thinner beaks and normal bird sized claws, whereas the Crow family, which includes Ravens and Magpies, has a heavier girth and talons for claws. The Crows are extremely annoying with loud cawing noises and obnoxious habits of disassembling garbage into alley messes. But the Blackbird has a song-like vocal, communicating much like the Oriole, which is in the same family.

The daintier, selective nature of the Blackbird is one quality best suited for a McDonald parking lot. With a body of seven to nine inches long, the average wingspan of 14 inches is quite a width when seen flying through the skies. The Blackbird prefers breeding in dense residential areas and in small urban parks. The majority of English blackbirds seldom move any distance from where they were hatched. Because of this familiarity, these birds cope well with people as they are drawn to trinkets, shiny objects, people-food and have been known to study our human habits. To build a nest, each bird can spend 11-14 days to achieve the two inch deep haven, knowing that the female’s eggs will incubate safely in the deep warmth. It will be the male which feeds the off-spring, as he also helps determine the initial location of the nest.

It is not unusual to find these wide nests around power lines or tucked into large signs, to give them a clear and safe vantage point. Both the male and females will remain vigilant to predators and food sources. Today the global breeding rate of Blackbirds comes in around 20 million, with 74 percent in the United States, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

These birds are also on the 2014 Bird Report as a common bird in steep decline. According to the Flight Continental Concern Score, the Blackbird is rated ninth in a twenty bird species, which are all in jeopardy. Reasons stated were due to shooting, poisoning, collisions and trapping.