Hardboiled Avian Crime

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

Grackle | Quiscalus quiscula

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  1. Martha September 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    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 September 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

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

  2. Laura J September 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    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 September 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

      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.

  3. Anne Harris September 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Beautiful image, Rick.

  4. Jeanine Dovell September 13, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

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

  5. Robert Curry September 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    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 September 13, 2009 at 11:30 pm #

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

  6. Jeanine Dovell September 14, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    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).

  7. Jeanine Dovell September 14, 2009 at 8:48 am #

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

    Rather Hitchcockian en masse like that.

    • Rick September 14, 2009 at 8:49 am #

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

  8. Kathe Koja September 14, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    Smooth criminal.

  9. Jeanine Dovell September 15, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    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 September 15, 2009 at 10:31 am #

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

  10. zoe December 2, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

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

  11. Rick December 2, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

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

  12. Diane April 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    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 April 15, 2010 at 9:53 am #

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

  13. PS August 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    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.


  14. John Weeks September 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

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

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