Hardboiled avian crime

13 September 2009 21 Comments Home » Birds

Common the grackle may be, here’s a black and white study
of a hard-boiled backyard character, causing as many crimes as he solves.

Grackles are from the Icterid bird group, including orioles and meadowlarks.
Hard-boiled backyard grackle causing as many crimes as he solves


  • Martha said:

    Hard to believe this hard -a** birds are cousins to the orioles. They are brassy and loud and can cluster in amazing amounts in trees — like in our yard.

  • Rick said:

    They always look a little bit angry, Martha. I like that.

  • Laura J said:

    I always think they are city slickers and high-stakes gamblers, come to cause trouble among their country kin (the redwings, who only say one word besides Kon-ker-Ree!, and that one word is foul).

    I don’t get many grackles here in the NH outback; the jays chase them off. And any bird BLUEJAYS think are riff-raff, well, you really do have to wonder.

  • Rick said:

    Thanks for the comment, Laura.

    High-stakes gamblers, causing trouble, nice image. Their trouble is always entertaining.

    Today I saw a blue jay couple, one in each birdbath, washing, splashing and cooling off in the sun.

  • Anne Harris said:

    Beautiful image, Rick.

  • Jeanine Dovell said:

    I’ve always thought grackles are beautiful. Their feathers reflect a myriad of colors in sunlight.

  • Rick said:

    You’re right about their colors, Jeanine. Beautiful and subtle.

    Here’s an image showing some of that: http://www.bugdreams.com/archives/grackle-proverb/

  • Robert Curry said:

    Remembering a trip to Waco TX a few years ago — every day at sunset huge flocks of grackles would swarm and swoop through the air, screeching like the apocalypse was at hand.

    Get definite Stephen King vibes from that memory.

  • Rick said:

    They do like to make a racket, Robert. I remember watching a huge swarm of bats in Austin, TX at sunset, incredible.

  • Jeanine Dovell said:

    That link you sent me was amazing. I’m always impressed by the shots you get.

    That grackle could be a Disney character (in the best possible way, regardless of how you feel about the Disney thing).

  • Jeanine Dovell said:

    Weirdly, an army of grackles just descended on my yard, front and back.

    Rather Hitchcockian en masse like that.

  • Rick said:

    Jeanine, we get swarms of grackles and starlings, often at the same time.

  • Kathe Koja said:

    Smooth criminal.

  • Jeanine Dovell said:

    Hadn’t thought of that. Will have to look out for the differences.

    Maybe that’s why one was chasing off the other at the birdbath.

    Birds make for such fascinating study. Always something new to learn.

  • Rick said:

    They can be just as ornery to their own as to another species, Jeanine. Makes it fun to watch, they don’t hold back.

  • zoe said:

    Wow! That’s a hard-core bird!
    Great photo, so much expression!

  • Rick said:

    Thanks Zoe. I have a soft spot for these hard-ass grackles.

  • Diane said:

    Such an intense stare, elegent aerial pride.

    I can’t imagine this shot in anything other than black and white! So stunning. Our local eagle, handsome, strong, fierce. Great shot.

  • Rick said:

    Thanks Diane. Lots of grackles here this spring, fledglings will appear coming soon.

  • PS said:

    I don’t know if you follow Game of Thrones, but this looks like a Raven right out of George RR Martin’s fantasy books.


  • John Weeks said:

    The second best thing about Boat Tailed Grackles is the pronunciation of “boat tailed grackle” in an old Charleston SC dialect.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.