Grackles are pretty smart birds
. When I
share peanuts with the Blue Jays
my yard sometimes the grackles watch where the jays bury a nut and then
Male Boat-tailed grackles are black, but at times their feathers take
on a metallic blue sheen. Female grackles are various shades of brown.
They are fairly small birds, similar in size to Blue Jays, so it is
particularly difficult to take photos of them flying.
The female above
is about to land in the
pickerelweed. When she does, the plants will sway, and then she'll
likely disappear quickly into them. Grackles are easiest to photograph
when they land on something stationary like these wetland rails.
This female grackle is hovering over the
looking for food:
I'm not quite sure what's going on with this white headed grackle. I've
seen a few now with some white feathers, but I've no idea why they have
I believe the bird below on the left is the chick of the bird on
the right. She brought it food.
Speaking of Papa, let's look at grackle parenting. I've watched this
grackle nest several times now, and I've only seen the mother bird fly
in to feed her chicks.
I was surprised, because I've watched
young and both parents feed the babies. That says something about
assumptions, generalizations and stereotypes.
up their poop with her beak and seems to swallow it, then flies off and
drops it away from the nest so predators don't catch the scent and try
to eat the chicks.
Speaking of predators, this alligator is mighty close to the grackle
nest. The nests are difficult to see in person, and it's worse in the
picture, so I put arrows at the top left pointing to them. Notice how
the one on the right looks slightly crooked? The rest of the story isn't
for everyone. If you're not squeamish,
here's the predator