Common Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

Common Grackle

A gang of grackles: We went to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago to see my family, while I was there, I really wanted to see the Common Grackle. On our fifth day I had just plopped down with a book on the couch when a large flock of black birds descended on the yard. At first I didn’t pay much attention to the birds, thinking they were starlings. After predicting that at least one Common Grackle had to be in the flock, I began to notice that these birds were bigger and were more iridescent than starlings. The entire flock was made of grackles! Since they were such skittish birds, I got some awesome pictures of them flying.

The grackles would return daily, slowly making their way around the house. I decided after a while to go outside. The noise was deafening! Imagine a bunch of rusty gates constantly being opened and closed, then multiply the sound by 3. That’s how noisy it was! On the way back I became very close to being pooped on. My favorite part was when they would take off, it was like a cloud that had touched the ground except that cloud was made up of thousands of birds.

Searching through the pictures I spotted a tag-along bird, a male Red-winged Blackbird. It was easy to single out with its small size and bright red wings. I continued to see the flock throughout my trip in many different places, such as the post office and the fields before the house. I now laugh that I had only planned to see one.

Size: Common grackles are 11-13″ long and have a wingspan of 14-18″ wide.

Habitat: Open fields, woodlands, and clearings.

2 thoughts on “Common Grackle

  1. love this report. The sound of the flocks of the common grackle sounds horrible and so lucky to see a red-wing blackbird. So much of their winter habitat is being destroyed. We see them occasionally


    1. I am glad you liked it. The noise wasn’t too bad once you got used to it, but I can’t say I liked it in the beginning! I saw my first red-winged blackbird of the year there, so I guess they arrive earlier than the ones here.


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