Common Grackle ~ Quiscalus quiscula



These guys don’t visit me a the feeders that often, but I did enjoy watching them try to figure out how to get the suet off the tree. (Ah, back when I had a tree….) They aren’t as agile as the other birds. They would fly up and poke at it, but not try to grab a hold of the tree like other birds either. Eventually, one knocked a pretty large chunk off and the other three flew after the one with the bounty.

These guys are related to the Blackbird and Oriole. They have rich, loud calls that clearly don’t fall into the songbird category.

The common grackle are very good foragers, sometimes following plows to search the freshly turned soil for food. This is why the ‘Scarecrow’ should really be called the Scaregrackle, as they do a whole lot more damage to corn fields than Crows do. In their never ending search for food, they will help Mr. Turtle out by eating leaches off his legs and steal food from other birds. They also have a hard, saw-like part of their beak that helps them open acorns and other hard nuts like chestnuts and walnuts.

imageGrackles also enjoy anting in which they hover over an anthill and allow ants to crawl about their bodies. The ants secrete formic acid or a repugnant oily liquid is secreted from anal glands, which is thought to reduce bothersome parasites. They have also been known to use other substances on their feathers; lemons and limes, marigold blossoms (pyrethrum), chokecherries and walnut juice.




© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

31 thoughts on “Common Grackle ~ Quiscalus quiscula

  1. Love their iridescent colours 🙂
    Funny how some birds are more able to cling onto a tree. Haven’t some adapted to have two claws facing forward and two back? Hmmm – I’m too lazy to google, just relying on that thing people used before the internet . . . brain power! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have Grackels everywhere here in Arkansas. I captured some good pictures of them last year. I watch them work the freshly plowed garden plot over every year. Did not know about the ants, or plants that these birds use for their benefit. Thanks for that information.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed grackles are very smart birds. They return to my city in the late evening by the droves to roost in their favorite spots. They colonize when roosting and it’s quite interesting to watch them settle in their favorite trees right in the midst of people and vehicles.

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  4. Funny – we were just talking about grackles yesterday. We used to get a nest of grackles in our backyard tree every spring when we first moved here. We’ve been in this house now for over 20 years and we haven’t seen a grackle since those early few summers. We can’t help but wonder what happened to them.
    We actually found them rather annoying because they would clean their nest by dropping their refuse in our pool. I don’t miss that part 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh. Poop in the pool. Nothing funner that that! 😝
      I do wonder how tough it is to be a bird. I’ve now been looking out this window for 5 years and I can recognize a few of the birds for various reasons. I’m sure it’s rough out there. The average life of most wild birds is only about 5 years. Live hard and fast I guess!


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