The term “Pretty Birdy” isn’t something you associate with a grackle, but this particular species has its own sort of beauty — at least visually.
The iridescent black and blue feathers, such as those on this one I captured on one of our feeders, are certainly attractive, and that distinctive yellow eye with its black pupil stands out. But the habits of this particular species outdo the bird’s attractiveness.
The grackles usually start showing up in our backyard in June; often it’s a single bird. But I know when I’ve sighted my first grackle of the season, his mates won’t be far behind. That’s certainly true; just a few days pass after the first sighting, and we’ve got a flock on our hands.
And what a noisy flock they are! Between that call that sounds like the swinging of a rusty gate and the flapping of those heavy wings (in comparison to the smaller fare we’re used to seeing), the grackles tend to dominate our feeders. Just now, as I write this post sitting on our porch in view of the feeders, a single grackle noisily flew in to a perch on a feeder, scattering a group of half a dozen chickadees and sparrows having an evening snack. What a lack of manners!
The grackles tend to leave en masse later in the summer; Brent is convinced that all the work I’ve done making the backyard more appealing to the birds I’d like to see has naturally made it more attractive to the grackles as well and we may be stuck with them for longer than usual this year. As long as they don’t totally crowd out the other birds, I’m OK with that. Actually, for their size, the grackles are among the most easily spooked and just opening our back door — even slowly — sends them scattering.
Pretty birdy? In a way, but mostly NOT!