Monday, May 25, 2015

Common Grackle

I wish I remember where I read that the Common Grackle is “the poor man’s bird-of-paradise.”  If anyone knows who wrote this, please let me know. Grackles are, indeed, beautiful birds. Yet they are despised by many bird feeder enthusiasts. Grackles do tend to take over feeding stations. Our neighbor asked what to do about the grackles at her feeder. I replied that she should learn to love grackles—probably not much help.

The situation is not aided by the grackle’s being “the most significant agricultural pest species in North America” (Peer and Bollinger 1997). Grackles also attack other birds and their young. In much of their range, however, in the eastern United States and southern Canada, grackle numbers are declining—up to 32 percent in the late 1990s. Reasons for this decrease may include human control measures and competition from Great-tailed Grackles, whose range is expanding across parts of the South.

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