Common Grackle

Alyce Taylor

Joined December 2008

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Featured in Naturally Black or White on June 30th, 2011.
Featured in As Is Photography on June 30th, 2011.

A common grackle sits on a fence in Lynde Shores Conservation Area in Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

Canon EOS 50D
Focal length:300 mm
Exposure:1/250 at f/6.3
ISO: 1600
No post-processing

Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) are a species of blackbird that look like they’ve been slightly stretched. They’re taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird, with a longer, more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies. Grackles walk around lawns and fields on their long legs or gather in noisy groups high in trees, typically evergreens. They eat many crops (notably corn) and nearly anything else as well, including garbage. In flight their long tails trail behind them, sometimes folded down the middle into a shallow V shape.

Prior to the European settlers’ arrival in America, the Common Grackle, a semicolonial species found in open areas with scattered trees, probably nested in cottonwood and sycamore groves along watercourses in the Midwest. But when forests were cleared to create agricultural land, the Common Grackle began to increase its numbers, such that now it is one of the most abundant breeding birds in North America. Today, the Common Grackle’s range continues to expand west, where it inhabits the trees planted in shelter belts.

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