On Wednesday morning, 18 June, I had some time for birding because my job is such that sometimes I have to work a later shift. No one heard any complaints from me about this, as I was out at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with the rising sun. By 8:00 AM I had finished up my walk around Jamaica Bay and decided to head out to the Rockaways to check out a few birding spots out there. At Rockaway Community Park I found a big mud puddle so I parked my car between the sun and the puddle (though far closer to the puddle) and waited. Why?

On a hot day birds need fresh water. And New York City was at the beginning of its hottest day of the year. And you all know how I love mud puddles and the Herring Gulls that think they are submarines that such puddles attract. Before too long, a female Boat-tailed Grackle flew in, dipped her beak, in which she was carrying something, into the water a couple of times, and then flew off into the bushes. I had managed to snap a couple of pictures of her and was surprised to identify what she was carrying as mulberries!

Boat-tailed Grackle washing mulberries

female Boat-tailed Grackle washing mulberries

A few minutes later a fledgling Boat-tailed Grackle flew out of the bushes onto a fence near the puddle and started to beg. Shortly thereafter what I assume was the same female bird flew in and stuffed the fledgling’s mouth full of more mulberries.  It was pretty cool.

Boat-tailed Grackle fledgling about to eat mulberries

Give me the mulberries mom! I’m hungry!

Boat-tailed Grackle eating mulberries

Mmm…give me a second. That was good.

Boat-tailed Grackle fledgling getting fed

More more more more more!

Boat-tailed Grackle done feeding

That wasn’t enough! Get me more berries!

When mom flew off the fledgling followed, hopefully to the mulberry tree to learn to get its own mulberries. I saw them (at least I think it was the same duo) again when they came into bathe, but I’ll wait and share that in another post.

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.