Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Great-Tailed Grackle

I needed something to cheer me up today and found this huge fellow stomping around our feeding station this afternoon. Of course, it could be a female...

Anyway, it is a Great-tailed Grackle. We saw one of these for the first time a few weeks ago. Elly spotted it and commented that it was the largest grackle she had ever seen. Actually, she said it looks like a cross between a grackle and a crow. I didn’t get any pictures on that occasion. Here is one I took today with a common grackle in the same frame to show the size comparision.

The Great-Tailed grackles are really big. Diana Sudyka has a wonderful watercolor of one on her Tiny Avery blog. She and her husband Jay (both artists) were in Austin for a poster event a few weeks back, and I guess these were thick on the ground down there.

We had another birding first (for our backyard) yesterday: a ruby-crowned kinglet. I’ve actually seen these in wooded areas near our neighborhood, but never in our backyard before. Elly and I both got a good look at the little fellow: about the size of a Great-tailed grackle’s head! I actually saw the bird’s ruby crown, which I haven’t seen before.

I tried to get a picture of it flying up into the air because they fan their tails in flight, which is really impressive, but that didn’t work out. Here is one more snap of the Great-tailed. I can’t help thinking of these as the velociraptor of the grackle world.

1 comment:

Diana Sudyka said...

hey fiske - that is most definitely a male, great-tailed.the females are smaller, and very bronze. i don't know about great-tailed, but i just read that common grackles will eat other small birds, and pick them off of feeders. i was a bit appalled as my feeder here has been inundated with them.

also - i love kinglets. we get the golden-crowned, but they haven't arrived just yet. i hope to see a ruby-crowned at some point. happy spring!