Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and I get no chips, no fried chicken, no tacos, no cookies, nuthin!
The Grackle is a blackbird, but larger than a regular blackbird. This one is probably a Great-Tailed Grackle, the male reaching about 18 inches in maturity. They are noisy birds – loud clocks; a rising whistle. Flat-topped appearance to head; yellow eyes. The female is a dull brown, without the large tail. There is also a “Boat-Tailed Grackle”, but they only frequent the coast and marshy areas.
They frequent inland areas, parks, towns, farms, etc. These birds in Austin usually congregate at the local fast food places, as they do in my neighborhood. In late fall and winter, they almost cloud the sky at dawn and dusk there, and they gather certainly in the hundreds if not thousands at these times of day. They are very intelligent birds. They will sound the alarm when something is amiss outdoors, and they often work together as a team.
Last year, they were too numerous and creating a mess near the fast food center of the neighborhood, so a falconer was called in to encourage them to leave. The first night, the man released the falcon, who immediately captured a Grackle and returned to the falconer with it in his claws. The next day, the Grackles were gone. All of them. This year, they returned, at first in small groups, and scattered throughout the area. But this week someone told me they are back near the fast food area. “Plus ca change, plus ca reste le meme.”