In my previous posting I had mentioned that the Grackles
had starting coming back last weekend and Kathleen at
Kaseys Korner said that she wasn't excited to see them come.
I have to agree that they can really be a nuisance and feed
on baby birds.
Every year I have at least one pair who try to make a nest
under the soffit and eaves between the rooves of the back of the
house. I always have to chase them away because they can
make a real mess down the side of the house.
Aside from the downside on them they very pretty feathers.
The Common Grackle has iridescent feathers of blue
and black and has yellow eyes. I just love their shiny blue
heads otherwise I think of ravens and Edgar Allen Poe.
There is just something about those eyes with the black circle
that makes them look fierce somehow. Its bill is long and black.
It is a large bird with the female being slightly smaller and
less glossy. They are often seen with other black birds
foraging on the ground.
I counted 19 in my backyard at one time last weekend.
They were foraging through the torn up soil in my backyard
which had to be dug up to run new septic lines.
I looked up some facts about the birds from the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology site because I did not know much about the bird
other than it had pretty feathers and I had to chase them out
in the Spring.
Some Cool Facts:
- The Common Grackle is an opportunistic forager, taking
advantage of whatever food sources it can find. It will follow
plows for invertebrates and mice, wade into water to catch
small fish, and sometimes kill and eat other birds at bird feeders.
- The Common Grackle commonly engages in anting, allowing
ants to crawl on its body and secrete formic acid, possibly
to rid the body of parasites. In addition to ants, it has been seen
using walnut juice, lemons and limes, marigold blossoms, choke
cherries, and mothballs in a similar fashion.
- The Common Grackle is found in a variety of open areas
with scattered trees, including open woodland, boreal forest,
swamps, marshes, agricultural areas, urban residential areas,
- The nest is a bulky cup of woody stems, leaves, grass, string,
bark, and other materials. Lined with mud and fine grasses or
hair. Placed in small tree, usually a conifer, suspended between
two branches or placed on a limb.
- The eggs are light blue to gray, with dark scrawls and
spots, often concentrated at large end.Usually has 1 to
7 eggs in a clutch.
- The juvenile is dull brown with brown eyes.