The grackles are a boisterous and bossy bunch at the feeders, and yet their behavior is suddenly forgiven when the light hits their glossy-black feathers, and beautiful iridescent colors magically appear.
When not feeding, they often sit in groups in the treetops, bellowing a loud and rather unmelodious song.
“The grackles are here and that is quite clear. The morning is ringing, – not with their singing, But with their talking, they’re piping and squawking . . .” ~Clarence Hawkes
Late on a cold, crisp afternoon, I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air and take in some of nature’s sights and sounds before nighttime fell on our little part of the world.
A small flock of cedar waxwings, with their high-pitched whistles, flitted about in the sky before temporarily settling in the top of one of our maple trees.
A group of grackles shared an adjoining maple tree, the males puffing out their feathers and bellowing out raspy squeaks in an attempt to outdo each other.
A robin peered down at me from its perch in the top of a neighbor’s tree.
Then I heard them — the faint and familiar sound of a bird that I have been looking forward to seeing since they returned to their wintering grounds at a nearby refuge. Flying high above, they slowly came into sight — my first seasonal glimpse of the Sandhill Cranes.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” ~Maya Angelou
This young grackle chick was causing quite a commotion in one of the bushes in our yard. Not wanting to be forgotten, you could almost see the desperation on its face as it expectantly awaited its next morsel of food.
No need to worry. It was being tenderly watched over and cared for. Mom kept slipping into the back side of the bush to give it suet from a nearby bird feeder.
The common grackle is one of those birds that both irritates and fascinates. A flock showed up in our yard in early spring, bringing with them noisy chatter and rowdy behavior at the feeders. A pair or two stuck around, and during the past couple of months they have been through courtship, nesting, and are now raising a brood which clamor loudly for attention and food. The juveniles are dull brown with dark eyes. The adults, with their beautiful iridescent colors and stern-looking golden eyes, seem to be devoted to the fledglings, looking out for them and eager to meet their needs. If the past is any indication, they will all soon move on to places unknown, and the yard will once again be quiet and peaceable.
“It’s amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them.” ~Louisa May Alcott
I often enjoy retreating to the quietness of our backyard to sit and enjoy nature. But recently, the backyard was unusually noisy due to several families of Common Grackles. The dull brown juveniles screeched and squawked, demanding their parents’ attention. The adults chattered as they made continual trips to the feeders in order to satisfy the endless appetites of the insistent juveniles. Though an interesting scene to observe, the disturbance made by the grackles was quite the opposite of the peace and quiet that I had been expecting to find.
“We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.” ~Samuel Johnson