Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grackle Graveyard

I know a lot of people don't like blackbirds of any kind. After all, you can have too much of a good thing. However, I have a soft spot for the Great-tailed Grackle. The males are such an elegant bird with their glossy feathers and huge, beautiful tail. At least until late August, when they lose their breeding plumage in molt. Then they just look goofy.

I started seeing them look scraggly last week, but with all the rain, I did not see any "Grackle Graveyards." Today I did. Driving down the road, I was admiring one of the nicely planted medians in Wichita Falls and saw my first one of the year. Hundreds of grackle tail feathers, sticking straight up out of the grass, looking like tombstones dotting a cemetery. The grackles will be walking around for the next few weeks with no tails. They don't make as much noise, nor do they strut like usual without their tails. It is like they know they don't look as dignified as usual.


Jim Miller said...

While I'm not a big grackle fan (they ARE better than starlings), I must admit the males are about the most amusing birds found in the city. I'm constantly amazed by the wide range of critters and other objects a male will target for display! Annie, of course, is enthralled by them, but then, Annie's easy when it comes to animals. With the possible exceptions of mosquitos and chiggers, I don't think she's every met an animal she doesn't love.

Annie said...

I am so glad you feel this way Penny! I love the grackles, too (OK, Jim is right, I love just about everything). I am enjoying your posts so much.
Thank you!

Penny Miller said...

I like them because they bring back memories of Panama, where they woke me up every morning. The males really are quite elegant. I also enjoy the little ones--they remind me of teradactyls (did I spell that right?) when they are babies. Turn into little buggers when they get older though.

Penny Miller said...

Annie, I think you would appreciate the fact that when I was young, I had a wash tub of leeches in my back yard. Don't ask me why--I just kep getting them on me when I would be in the lake or the creek and I wanted to know how big they would get. Well, let me tell you, they get pretty big.