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.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Why there are so many blackbirds

This has been a particularly bad year for blackbirds. The late spring and dry summer didn't produce as many bugs as normal. Many have had to supplement their diet at the feeders.
I’m watching the Common Grackles bringing babies up to the store window. One more week and they will be gathering in flocks to go back south. 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. Females generally lack the strong iridescence shown by males and juveniles are a dark brown all over. Those dull baby feathers will be replaced by black adult feathers in the next several weeks.

Common grackles migrate in mixed-species flocks with red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, and brown-headed cowbirds. They need a lot of food right now for their young ones and also for them to complete a full molt of feathers.

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

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