Brian Mittge Commentary: Bad Blackbird of Chehalis an Apt Anti-Hero of Our Era


So many of the problems in our world today seem larger than life; far away but looming ominously as they cast a pall over our future and a threat over the present day.

In a way, the latest villain of Lewis County has all those same characteristics — but in this case, it’s a cranky blackbird that has taken to dive-bombing people walking down Market Boulevard just south of the downtown core.

As ably detailed in a story by The Chronicle’s resident bird aficionado, reporter Isabel Vander Stoep, the avian adversary has been swooping down to harass passers-by for several weeks. The bad bird appears to be the male in a nesting pair of Brewer’s blackbirds.

One wonders if he’s defending his nest or is just a misanthrope. Or perhaps this pint-sized Yard Bird is taking aim at City Hall because of its code enforcement actions against the Yard Bird’s Mall a few miles up the road?

At any rate, his aggressiveness has been noted by city officials.

During last week’s Special Olympics torch run, Mayor Tony Ketchum showed his ingenuity by shaking pom-poms to ward off the city’s feathered frenemy.

The bad bird is relentless, finding a foothold in trees or on prominent city architecture while awaiting his next victim.

Perched atop the stark pillars of Chehalis City Hall or on top of the Celtic cross on the roof of Westminster Presbyterian Church across the street, the big-eyed bomber looks like a grim enforcer surveying his city for miscreants deserving of an aerial attack.

Vander Stoep, exercising commendable journalistic diligence, notes, “The blackbird did not respond to The Chronicle’s request for comment, but he did dive-bomb staff who went to take a picture of him.”

(To be fair, the victim in that case was news photographer Jared Wenzelburger, who goes by the sobriquet “The Photo Jay,” so maybe it was a bird vs. bird dispute of some sort.)

City staff have come up with a few nicknames for their grumpy neighbor, including Angry Bird, Earhart and Twanda.

There is talk of making him the city mascot. Some might consider that a bird-brained idea, but the concept might just take flight.

Regardless, here are a couple more ideas for nicknaming the Mint City’s pugnacious little songbird of prey:

• WestSinister

• The Covid Corvid

• Alice the Malice

• The Saundersville Horror

• DeMinted

• The Velocity Raptor

• Beaker

• W.F. Pest

• Buzz Fight-here


Dad Joke of the Week

Last month we were attending our son’s baseball game at Theodore Goss Field near Grand Mound. One of our umps was quite a comedian, regaling us with jokes between innings.

This one was the first, given after he bent down to sweep dust off of home plate and after a parent in the stand, concerned about the impact on the umps of the game going late, called out, “We want to get you home for dinner.”

The ump patted his stomach and said, “Believe me, I never miss dinner.”

We laughed, so he continued.

“OK, since I have you, why did the umpire have a big belly? Because he always cleaned his plate.”


Brian Mittge is a birdbrain and a baseball fan. Drop him a line (but not an angry bird) at