Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Whole Lot Of Grackle

The grackles have been amazing photo subjects (as long as I supply them with food, of course). There are certainly far less of them visiting as the days go by, but enough to snap a few pictures. Since Mr. and Mrs. Robin settled near my kitchen window and chased away the blue jays (that won’t be returning until late summer), I’ll take whatever animals I can get. So more grackles it is...


Grackles are one of the most abundant breeding birds in North America. They can be found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and extending to Canada in the summer breeding season.


Grackles are large black birds with purple or bronze iridescence, long, stout black beaks and pale yellow eyes. The females are slightly smaller, less glossy and their tail is shorter.


The female grackle builds the large, bulky cup-nest from grasses and weed stems, and lines it with mud and fine grasses or hair. The nest is well concealed in dense deciduous or coniferous trees and shrubs, occasionally in tree cavities and nest boxes, and usually near water.


Four to five eggs are laid that are pale green to light brown with purple and dark brown streaks and blotches. The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days, and some male grackles may abandon their mate before the young have fledged to pair and re-nest with another female.


The young leave the nest 12 to 15 days after hatching though they remain near the nest for the next few days. The adults continue to feed the young until they become fully independent.


Common grackles frequently engage in anting, allowing ants to crawl on their body and secrete formic acid, possibly to rid the body of parasites. In addition to ants, these birds have been seen using walnut juice, lemons and limes, marigold blossoms, choke cherries, and mothballs in a similar fashion.


The oldest recorded common grackle was 23 years, one month old. Most don’t live anywhere near that long. Only about half of these birds reach adulthood.

10 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of them, but I love their name.

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  2. They are beautiful, and so are your photos! I like that second picture especially.

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    1. Thank you! That are quite photogenic, so I enjoy when they drop by.

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  3. I love them,that colouring,wow! so nice to know something about them should I ever see one in real life. Grackle is the best name:)

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    1. They show amazing colours when the sun hits them. They are troublemakers, but I like snapping photos of them.

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  4. I'm not fond of grackles, but I don't know why. Some unfounded romour about their questionable behaviour? Anyway, your photos have made me more tolerant.

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    1. I used to feel the same way, but I don't mind them as much anymore. I think learning about animals helps us find something appealing about each one. All creatures have a place in this world.

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  5. Great photos Martha! These critters have had a 'bad rap' for too long....look at them, beautiful birds!

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    1. I know, aren't they? I think a lot of their bad rap comes from movies. Black birds are always sinister-types in Hollywood films. And always involved in evil.

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