About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Iridescent Common Grackle

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The Common Grackle is an opportunistic feeder and likes to eat lots of insects and grain but will also feed on crayfish, frogs, mice, and both the eggs and the young of small birds. If you are overrun with grackles make sure you are not feeding cracked corn or milo. And to eliminate them completely from your feeding station, offer only Safflower seed.

Baby Grackle
A big black bird about a foot long with yellow eyes, grackles can frighten other birds with their intimidating look. They can also be quite beautiful when the sun hits and their feathers. Up close these blackbirds have highly iridescent feathers, with varying colors from blue to purple to green to bronze, depending on the light. The arrangement of melanin granules in ordered layers around the edges of feather barbules results in our eyes seeing a shift between black and iridescent colors.

The Common Grackle is a poor but spirited singer. Usually while perched in a shrub, a male grackle will slowly take a deep breath to inflate his breast, causing his feathers to spike outward, then close his eyes and give out a loud, strained tssh-schleek.

Related Articles:
- How Grackles got their name http://goo.gl/zGBBaO
- Common Grackles facts http://bit.ly/OzgUjw
- How to keep grackles away: http://bit.ly/Q1q0GI
- Why is the blackbird associated with evil and ill omens? http://bit.ly/OzhBtb
- When black birds fly south http://bit.ly/Q1qDAk