I AM THE SCARECROW

Usually, I try not to scare the birds. I like birds. I like squirrels. I like chipmunks. I like most creatures feathered or furry but I admit, the Grackles make me uncomfortable. They are beautiful to look at, gleaming blue, green, cream, and purple in sunshine, but there’s something about that face that screams: “I have a gun and if you don’t give me all your money, I’ll blow your head off.”

Grackles’ colors change depending on light. They may look purple or green or bronze — with a blue head — and come in two sets of colors. We get both here

Of course, they don’t have guns, but somehow I feel that if they could figure out how to get one, they definitely would blow my head off.

I enjoyed yesterday’s visit, mostly because I got some really good pictures, but I realized I needed to discourage these birds from making our back deck into a regular dining stop. For one thing, I can’t afford to feed a flock of Grackles and for two things, they would effectively scare off all the other birds and quite probably the squirrels too. Although those little red squirrel are tough little guys and I’m sure they’d put up a fight. Still, given the nature of Grackles, I think they win win three falls out of four. They look tough. They are tough.

I was making Chinese sweet and sour pork today, so I was going to be in the kitchen for a few hours, regardless. I started watching for Grackles early in the day. None appeared during the morning. Around two, I noticed one of the trees was full of black birds, Not crows. Eventually one Grackle flew onto a feeder and I went out the back door. “Begone, bird.,” I said. “The forest is full of acorns. Go eat some.”

And then, he was gone. Half an hour later he came back with a couple of friends. They sat on a branch. Watching. Waiting. When they got close enough, I went back outside and said: “You, there. Yes, I mean YOU. Be gone!”

Weirdly, the Grackles left — but the rest of the birds stayed on the deck and kept eating. How did they know I meant the big beaky birds and not the little feathery kids who more or less live here? That was pretty strange. How did the Grackles know I meant for them to leave — and how did the others know I didn’t want them to go too? I’m still puzzled. Maybe it’s because the little birds know me as the lady who comes out with the food?

One way or the other, the Grackles flew one tree further away, but they didn’t leave. They sat on a limb and watched me. It was extremely Hitchcockian. If anyone is going to be attacked by birds, Grackles would be an excellent choice. They are big and have that long, evil beak with a saw on top. The saw is so they can cut through acorns and nuts using that big beak to slice through the hulls.

As the day aged, the squirrels came out. They like to feed early in the morning and just before dark. When they move into the feeder, the small birds usually call it a day and fly home, which they did today. The Grackles gave up their branch and flew somewhere else. I wonder if they will be back tomorrow?



Categories: Anecdote, Animals, birds, Grackle, House Finch, Photography, Tufted-Titmouse, Wildlife

Tags: , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Those Grackles are most definitely Hitchcockian, Marilyn. A most interesting story.

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  2. Hi Marilyn. Your Grackle photos are thr best I’ve ever seen and your ability to scare that one off is almost supernatural. Really enjoyable post. Grackles are fearless. Here’s a Great Blue Heron being harassed by a Grackle. Look at that size difference! https://babsjeheron.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/grackle-haranguing-great-blue-heron-babsjeheron.jpg

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    • I was lucky this time. I have good days and not so good days with the camera. I use a very long lens and sometimes, I get too close and all the pictures are just a tiny bit blurry. This time, most of them came out reasonably sharp. With birds, never entirely sharp but better than usual.

      We have Great Blue Herons around here too — not on my property, but all along the river. They nest in trees which is pretty strange. I have to go look at your pictures. I haven’t seen a grackle today so I’m hoping they have moved on. I love the pictures, but those are some tough birds! Good thing they can’t carry weapons, though that beak is pretty weaponized!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Herons are mostly not very aggressive although they will happily eat the babies and eggs of other birds, so I suppose other birds might disagree with my assessment. With a few exceptions, most birds are a bit aggressive to other birds that are the same size or smaller. Only crows and grackles seem willing to take on much larger birds, but I think that’s because there are so many of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Grackles with guns…I think these guys could carry that look very well. Come on, Garry–say it with me: “Oh, you dirty rat.” 😉

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  4. I love your pictures Marilyn. Thanks

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