Common grackle

Common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula).

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Another new bird at the feeders. This common grackle, a blackbird, showed up with a male red-winged blackbird at the feeders. Birds of New Jersey tells us that grackles often travel in flocks with other blackbirds. Two birds don’t make a flock, but perhaps others will join them.

Something is wrong in the photo above. This feeder is supposed to close when heavier birds perch on it. Look at this grackle. I consider him a heavy bird, yet the seed windows on the feeder remain open. I have yet to solve this mystery.

Common grackles have iridescent blue black heads, purple brown bodies, long black tails, and bright golden eyes, according to Birds of New Jersey. Just look at those eyes.

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Grackles make a complete migration to southern states, so this is a return of one grackle at least. The photos above were taken on March 14.

Birds of New Jersey also tells us that an unusual characteristic of common grackles is that they have muscles to open their mouths rather than to close them, which helps them to pry open crevices to find insects. This grackle’s bill looks impressive, to say the least.

Welcome, common grackle. Your flock may show up soon, but I really don’t want them all snacking at the small-bird feeder.

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