Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12: First Grackle

Things are really heating up around here: I saw my first grackles of the season fly over the gas station while I was filling up this afternoon. (The great thing about birding is that you might see a cool bird--and all birds are cool--just about anywhere. As long as you're paying attention.) Many people find grackles annoying. From the blackbird family, they gang up and mob bird feeders, they're loud, and their song--though interesting--can hardly be called music. But watch them closely. In the sunlight that boring black plumage becomes iridescent green and purple, accented by a bright yellow eye. When they fly, the males hold their tails vertically, like little rudders guiding them through the air. And they're one of the first birds of the season to return, certainly cause for celebration as we transition into spring.

Common grackles carry the lovely Latin name of Quiscalus quiscula. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons.)
In a couple months
they'll be "just grackles" again.
Right now they mean "spring."

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