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.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A rather large blackbird

The Common Grackle is distinguished easily by its iridescent purple and bronze plumage. One interesting fact is the Grackles often roll around on ants to make them secrete formic acid, which is thought to kill parasites. This is called anting, and grackles are frequent practitioners among the many bird species that do it. Besides formic acid from ants, the Common Grackle has been observed using various other substances, such as walnut juice, mothballs, lemons, limes, marigold blossoms, and choke cherries in similar ways.

Common Grackles do well in human landscapes, using scattered trees for nesting and open ground for foraging. They eat mostly seeds, particularly agricultural grains such as corn. Other seeds include sunflower seeds, acorns, tree seeds such as sweetgum, wild and cultivated fruits, and garbage. In summer, one-quarter or more of a grackle’s diet may be animals, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, salamanders, mice, and other birds.

Related Articles:
   - Bird of the Week: Common Grackles 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
   - Bird Basics: How are birds classified? http://bit.ly/Q1reSr

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