|With the afternoon sun greatly enhancing the Grackle’s iridescent feathers and looking much like a songbird, here the species almost looks appealing. Looks can be deceiving........|
We get a good variety of songbirds here, wrens, finches, warblers, etc. Whether it be at the feeders or in our apple tree when it’s covered with blossoms, we often have a plethora of feathered songsters on hand. Then, one day in spring, like clockwork, a flock of Grackles comes flying in and setting up shop in the surrounding trees. As you might guess, they waste no time taking over our bird feeders. Just like that our songbird fest is over – at least until the feeders have been depleted of seed and the marauding Grackles have moved on.
|The Common Grackle’s trademark look of sinister defiance.|
Whenever I see Grackles, three distinct images come to mind, two of which bring about feelings of disdain. The first instance occurred while doing a landscape job and seeing what I thought was a piece of paper being blow along by the wind. Following close behind was a Grackle, pecking away at the moving object which turned out to be a fledgling Robin, helpless and trying its best to flee its tormentor. The second occurrence was reported by a friend who told me of watching a horde of Common Grackles strutting through a meadow in search of ground-nesting songbirds.
|Imagine what a fledgling bird must feel when confronted by this menacing presence.|
Lastly, I was hiking along Tonawanda Creek one spring afternoon when I heard a commotion in cluster of phragmites. The rustling sound roused my curiosity and as tried to get a closer look a grackle sprang forth from those dead reeds, taking flight with a snake dangling from its beak. That little wildlife drama left me with mixed emotions toward the grackle. On one hand there was just the slightest trace of admiration, after all, here was bird not much bigger than a Blue Jay about to make a meal of a snake. On the other hand I felt no remorse for the snake and no hurrah for the grackle.
Until next time,
Jim & Claudia