Monday, March 6, 2017

Common Grackle

My first Common Grackle of the year—on 4 March along the Superior Drive Pond here in Northfield. The bird squawked and puffed its feathers. Although I did not observe them, other males must have been nearby.

Common Grackles are common. They thrive in a variety of habitats and are not particular in their feeding habits. Their numbers have increased as eastern forests were cleared for agriculture. Their range moved west as shelterbelts were planted across the prairies. Only recently have populations declined after persecution for being pests. They damage sprouting corn and other crops (Peer and Bollinger 1997). They are not always welcome at bird feeders either. They are voracious consumers of seeds and sometimes kill and eat small birds.

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