*FLIGHT OF THE GRACKLE*

Van Coleman

Ashland, United States

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FLIGHT OF THE GRACKLE

Best viewed large.

I spotted this Grackle (Blackbird) in flight with a piece of my
cornbread in his mouth. I had just put some cornbread out for the wild birds that visit my backyard everyday, and when I looked up there he was!

GRACKLE, commonly called BLACKBIRD

Grackles are actually Blackbirds 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.

Size & Shape:
Common Grackles are large, lanky blackbirds with long legs and long tails. The head is flat and the bill is longer than in most blackbirds, with the hint of a downward curve. In flight, the wings appear short in comparison to the tail. Males are slightly larger than females.

Color Pattern:
Common Grackles appear black from a distance, but up close their glossy, bluish purple heads contrast with bronzy-iridescent bodies. A bright golden eye gives grackles an intent expression. Females are slightly less glossy than males. Young birds are dark brown with a dark eye.

Behavior:
You’ll often find common Grackles in large flocks, flying or foraging on lawns and in agricultural fields. They strut on their long legs, pecking for food rather than scratching. At feeders, common Grackles dominate smaller birds. When resting they sit atop trees or on telephone lines, keeping up a raucous chattering. Flight is direct, with stiff wing beats.

Habitat:
Grackles thrive around agricultural fields, feedlots, city parks, and suburban lawns. They’re also common in open habitats including woodland, forest edges, meadows, and marshes.

Photo shot with my Canon EOS 40D camera.

For more information, please go here:
ALL ABOUT BIRDS

Artwork Comments

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