May 092014
 

These opportunistic Great-tailed Grackles were observed as they helped themselves to some soggy pieces of bread left behind by duck feeding park patrons. In the pictures below the big black male grackles are contrasted nicely with the smaller, duller colored females.

On occasion, the males would take time off from eating strike poses that were meant to impress other, rival males. Wings down and beak straight up is certainly a stance meant to intimidate!

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the behavior of the Great-tailed Grackle:

This bird has a large variety of raucous, cacophonous calls, some very melodic, but is considered to be a noisy pest species by some. Its range expansion has not been aided by human introduction.

The females can travel in flocks and they share food. When a male spots a female, he engages her by puffing up and gaping his mouth. He then proceeds to make loud calls and follow the female. The female will allow the large males to mate with her; she will usually reject smaller males. Before dawn and after sundown these birds often congregate in large numbers (known as annoyances) in a particular area, for example roofs and tree branches. There they sing and caw for long periods before taking wing simultaneously until the next congregation. Grackles are cunning and opportunistic birds and are a common sights in towns and hotels throughout Central America. They are omnivorous and brave, often approaching humans in search of scraps of food.

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  4 Responses to “Great-tailed Grackle – Soggy Bread”

  1. Wow, if any bird could be made to look a villain, you did it wonderfully well. Nice photos.

  2. On 2/11/15 I was at the ITC in downtown Fort Worth, waiting for a bus. There are usually a bunch of grackles (and pigeons) wandering around there like stray dogs. But on that day I caught sight of a female grackle that had apparently been shot in the head with a blowgun. The bottom of the dart was hanging out of its mouth and the the tip projected out of the back of its skull. It seemed to be annoyed with the bit of steel running through its cranium, but otherwise unaffected. Every so often it would drag the tip of the dart across the ground to try to dislodge it. Had time to take a quick video on my iPad, but had to catch my bus. I haven’t seen it since then.

    • Wow, that is rough. It is amazing how tenacious wild animals can be, but I’m sure that kind of injury would have gotten the better of her in short order. Terrible.

      • I can imagine infection setting in and taking the poor thing. It’d be a nasty way to go. I just hope it was just some dumb kid who got a “lucky” shot and nobody’s making a habit of it.

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