Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Common Grackle

Every winter, we have large mixed flocks of black birds pass through the area.  You've probably seen them too.  I have never heard a good explanation of why they flock up in such great numbers when it would seem like food is in shorter supply at that time of the year.  The competition to eat must be far greater than if they were out foraging in smaller groups. So there must be some other advantage to this behavior. I'm not even sure they migrate out of the area. Grackles commonly make up a good portion of these flocks.

Grackles have a beautiful iridescence that isn't readily visible until seen close up and in good light.  There isn't too much difference between male and female, although males are little more colorful.  They aren't a common visitor to the feeder (thankfully - because they can clean one out pretty quickly), but snow was covering the ground, which made this food source more attractive.  I kept shooing them off at first, but then decided to film them when they would land.

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