So there I was in the kitchen. Being extra hands while Owen was creating Salisbury steak. I was looking out the window, which I do a lot because the birds have quite a circus in progress. And then, I saw a black bird. It might have been a starling, but it’s that time of year again. About two weeks early, Usually they sweep in around Halloween. Close enough,

Grackles. Definitely. I could see them gathering in the trees, just like Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” If you look into the woods, you can see them gathering. Branches bend under the weight.

No doubt about it. The grackles are back. For however long they stay, usually about three weeks, give or take a few days, they are THE birds. They aren’t aggressive or even pushy, but there are a lot of them. And while I write this, they are out there forming a mob.

That’s the other thing. Black birds form mobs. Not just one species of black bird. Crows, grackles, starlings, red or yellow winged blackbirds — but NOT Ravens — form groups called “mobs.” Finches sometimes mob up in the summer — House Finch and Goldfinch locally — but not to the same extent as black birds. Why do they do it? Apparently sometimes to find food, often to protect themselves or their nest, often to take down a hawk or raven (crows hate ravens — and no one knows why. It’s an ancient grudge).

Mostly they have been gathering in the woods and watching the feeders. I assume they will eventually come down and join the crowd.

Categories: #Birds, #Photography, Anecdote, Grackle

13 replies

  1. They might not be aggressive or pushy, but those eyes…! They say it all for them.


    • I was doing a little reading about them last night. It was a pretty funny article from Audubon Soc., not known for its humorous content. But basically, it said that grackles had taken the measure of humans and decided to completely ignore us. These birds have some very serious ATTITUDE.

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  2. I wish we had these in UK. They look lovely…


  3. I especially love the second to the last photo.


    • That is my classic grackle. They’ve been circling around in back for a few days but haven’t approached the house. I wonder if it’s because I don’t have the same feeders as last year. But I see them and there are a lot of them out there. They have been showing up every year, so I hope they visit for a while.


        • Can I reblog that poem? Not today but when I get some new pictures. Apparently what they are all doing in our woods is BREEDING. New England is a big breeding ground for the bronze and purple grackles. They aren’t here for the food. They just need our trees. The food is just a bonus since these guys will eat absolutely anything. One of the articles I read said that it’s just lucky they aren’t any bigger. If they were as big as ravens or falcons, they would take over the world. It might be an improvement.

          There’s a special on HBO (if you have HBO) about George Carlin. It’s well done and very current.

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