Descending the ridge on an early, cool morning, the mist beginning to dissolve, we stop. A branch falls slowly from high up. Another crinkling noise. One grackle takes off from a tree, and then three or four more. We advance a few steps. Wolfie’s ears are peaked. Unmoving, he stares up and out into the deeper foliage and mist. As if in telepathic concert, they all begin to rise and fly from all around us, in back and on both sides too – hundreds of blue-black grackles take off from the ferns and low grasses, from behind stumps and piles of rocks, from low and mid-level trees, all of them arching upward, beating hard, their calls and wings making the air sizzle and thrum. In a few seconds they disappear above the dense canopy, heading northwest. Both of us remain in place, curving only our own heads and eyes to follow them.