This table shows a summary of our winter company, at least that we observed during Feeder Watch count days:
This week, though, the skies seem to have exploded with sound and activity. We've seen flocks of seagulls, hawks soaring and perched, robins darting about and singing happily, bluebirds inspecting the bird boxes, grackles squeaking from the tops of the trees, starlings falling into drainpipes, and lots of others. It's so exciting - it's like the skies are coming alive!
The photo entry from the National Geographic Field Guide to Birds
of Eastern North America given to me by the Rowe's - thank you ^_^
This morning, the first bird that I saw outside was a grackle! I know these birds can be a nuisance to some people, but I like them. Their black yet shimmery colors, funny gait, shyness, intimidating appearance but weak raspy voice - those characteristics make them fun to watch. I see them foraging in the yard a lot during the summer, but I didn't know much about their nesting habits, so I decided to read up so I can keep an eye out for grackle nests. Here's what I learned.
Grackles nest in colonies, like Pelicans. The males and females spend a few weeks gathering nesting material. It seems that they really like the long, stringy reeds from last season's day lilies. After they have all the materials together, the female builds the nest somewhere between 3-30 feet above the ground in some kind of tree or bush. The eggs are a light greenish color with black swirl patterns. Here's a photo of a grackle nest in PA that was taken by Tim Milback:
They look like the easter candy eggs, don't they? Most of the grackles that I've seen this week have been flocking in my neighbor's tree, but I see them darting here and there and all over. I don't think I've ever seen a grackle nest, but who knows? Maybe I'll find one this year :)