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100 species #7: Common grackle

dandelion


Common grackle Quiscalus quiscula with a fat worm (probably a beetle grub) plucked from my yard. This grackle was traveling around with the starlings in the previous post. Mixed flocks of "blackbirds" include related species like grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and brown-headed cowbirds and also unrelated but similar birds like European starlings. Grackles are some of the first migratory birds to appear in the Boston area in late winter.

The common grackle appeared previously in this blog as 365 Urban Species #80.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
dinahprincedaly
Mar. 16th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
sort of a non-sequitor
hmmmm.... speaking of grubs... do you know of any nontoxic cures for a field of moles?
urbpan
Mar. 17th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: sort of a non-sequitor
They make spring traps that you put in the burrows. The mole comes along and hits the trigger and the spring shoots a spike into the mole, killing it. I don't know how effective they are, or how dangerous they are to non-target animals, like say a large doodle dog galloping through the field.
dinahprincedaly
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
Re: sort of a non-sequitor
i will so check those out they sound nice and barbaric and something to do before summer training starts with little flags to mark where they are... thanks
bill_sheehan
Mar. 17th, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)
How do you tell a grackle from a starling? The penultimate wife and I raised what we thought was an abandoned baby grackle (mixing up high-protein dog food in the blender until it was a slurry and serving it on the end of a chopstick). This was back in '83, and now that I look at the picture of the adult bird perched on penultimate wife's shoulder, I think it looks more like a starling.
urbpan
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:57 am (UTC)
It can be hard to distinguish baby songbirds. A starling has a yellow bill, and a grackle's is darker, darkening completely when it grows. When they're adults it's easier: A grackle has a long, boat-shaped tail, and a very smooth glossy plumage. Starlings have short tails and a shaggy, speckled appearance. Even when they are young, starlings have a brow ridge that gives them a penetrating expression, like the downward pointed eyebrow you put on a cartoon character to show that it's mad or evil.

Fledgling grackle: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1174/535127606_e633e64b25.jpg

Fledgling starling: http://www.birdsofwestwood.com/images/birdpics/starling-baby.jpg
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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