Saturday, January 14, 2012
Hell's Angels with Wings
Looking out the kitchen window, I was surprised to see a gang of Hell's Angels with wings instead of wheels. Our feeders have been invaded by 50-60 Common Grackles, mixed in with another 30 or so European Starlings. I had not filled any of the feeders yet, and delayed doing so until the mobs went elsewhere after demolishing the few remaining peanuts.
Common Grackles are large, noisy, and gregarious birds that often flock with other blackbirds, cowbirds, and starlings, especially in winter. At feeders they tower over other birds and push them aside to get at food. Grackles typically forage on the ground and roost high in trees or on power lines. All our regular birds - the Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Wrens and woodpeckers - stayed safely out of range of these iridescent bullies.
They pointedly looked at me as I watched through the door. "Hey you! Get with it and bring out the seed!"
One or two moved over to the creek for a drink...
...followed by most of the others, drinking and splashing vigorously in the cold water. Hmm, that reminds me. It's time to get out the heater and put out some shallow water that won't freeze for the smaller birds, since the creek is too deep and too fast for their taste.