At first glance they are quite beautiful. Their coat of feathers an iridescent purple, that shimmers in the sunlight. They eyes a piercing gold against their black shiny head. I grabbed my Birds of New York Field Guide to properly identify him. 
boat-tailed-grackle-male-kure-beach-121205
Common Grackle

Size 11 – 13 inches

Male: Large black bird with iridescent blue black head, purple brown body, long black tail, long thin bill and bright golden eye.

Female: similar to male, only duller and smaller (always true in birds – God’s little joke?)

Juvenile: similar to female

Notes: Usually nests in small colonies of up to 75 pairs (WHAT? that’s SMALL?), but travels with other blackbirds in large flocks. Unlike most birds, it has larger muscles for opening the mouth (rather than closing it).

Okay, it’s true. I’m a backyard birder (geek). 

I spent $100 on a feeder that is truly squirrel proof. When my Northern Cardinals, Dark-Eyed Juncos, White Breasted Nuthatches, and Chipping Sparrows land, they can eat freely. The squirrel weighs enough to pull the seed doors shut. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. But don’t feel sorry for my squirrels. I have the Squirrel Bungee to keep them fed and entertained. And for my Red Bellied Woodpecker, a suet feeder. 

After my beloved Mavis passed on (the best dog in the world) I realized I could not go through the pain of losing another pet. So I became a backyard birder. It’s cheaper, less stressful, and you never have to hire a sitter. They make me very happy and are a welcome distraction to work (my feeders are perfectly centered outside my office window).

But yesterday things grew dark. I mean Alfred Hitchcock dark. As a pack of Grackles descended on my Disney display. They scared away my American Goldfinch. The greedy bastards surrounded the place, and one made his way to the feeder. But here’s where it gets interesting – when a second landed on the feeder, they weighed as much as a squirrel. Shut out! One by one they pushed each other off hoping to get the bounty of seed. The more greedy they got, the less they ended up getting.

slide001Hmmmmmm……sounds like Wall Street.

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