The grackle is the ultimate American bird, adaptable, intrepid, and obstreperous. Ten species of these iridescent ebon irritants, most in the genus Quiscalus, are distributed throughout the New World. The banner blackbird of most of Mesoamerica as well as much of the southwestern United States is the Great-tailed Grackle. In fact, this aggressive avian ambassador is usually the first bird a visitor encounters, often right outside the airport!
Ogden Nash wrote a particularly apt ode to this intelligent, elegant, irksome icterid titled simply The Grackle…
The grackle’s voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
An ornithological debacle.
If you’ve ever traveled the temperate or tropical parts of the Americas, you’ve met the grackle. You probably also have an opinion about it. Frankly I love them, especially since I just spotted my first Common Grackles of spring. Have you written about a species of grackle or captured a photo that does this dashing dastard justice? If so, show us your grackles!
When we first ran this post in March 2009, we received links from David Ringer, Danny Germer, Nick Sly, Coyote Mercury, and Shelly. Do you want to add to the list?
And if you have a particularly entertaining or egregious grackle tale, feel free to share it in the comments.