Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grackles love 'em or hate 'em, they don't care

It started with the extremely warm weather we had. Birds migrating early, including a huge flock of about 30 or more grackles which was like a bunch of pirates showing up to predate my feeders.

Few little birds could get near the seed when this flock arrived. There were three large elm and maple trees full of these huge black birds with their whistles, buzzing and fluffing of feathers when they call.

Many have finally moved on - it was after all, about two or more weeks ago that the warm spell began. But nearly a dozen grackles have remained. This morning these two glared at me for daring to interrupt their morning repast. The seeds I place along the deck railing are just way too enticing for many of these birds and while they don't often feel comfortable enough to feed this close to the house, there they were. Temptation was just too strong. I chuckled when I enlarged this photo to see the obvious glare in their eyes. What was I doing bothering them while they ate?

And yet this fellow seemed much more excited about gobbling up the seeds not stopping simply because I had the camera pointed in its direction. And here I didn't know that birds had these kinds of facial expressions... so much to learn. I do know that many of the ones that hang around here regularly recognize me. When I go outside to fill or replace the feeders, the blue jays scream that I've finally arrived and suddenly the air is filled with little birds singing and blue jays calling to one another, quite the flurry of excitement. Two ravens will always call when they pass by the property early in the mornings. We have quite the conversation though I have no clue what they are saying, I call "good morning raven," or "hello raven" and always get a throaty from one bird that sounds like an ambulance horn trying to go through a stop light and the other more like a loud purr.

With the cold we're experiencing these past few days, there are lots more birds hanging around the feeders than were here when it was warm. Hopefully they'll manage the sudden ups and downs. So far so good. Hopefully too, others like me will make sure feeders remain full and suet is available for the little ones who certainly need it.

Strange weather this spring.


  1. I love the iridescent feathers of the grackle. These communal birds certainly know how to make themselves at home, don't they? All our bird feeders are now put away. We have already begun to see black bears. A bit early this year.

    1. Very early for black bears - I had heard of some locally that people coaxed back to bed when they came out in early February...but no feeders for sure when they are out and around Bill.

      And yes I do love the feathers on grackles and the multi-colouring that is very delicate and pretty in starlings, though they two are robber barons in terms of feeders. Strange year, with snow here the past couple of days, and three inches in Muskoka where my son is spending the weekend. And the apple farmers are very concerned. Blossoms are setting about now and we've had two killing frosts. Who knows how they'll do this year?
      Thanks for stopping by - always a pleasure to hear from you.