About The Grackle
Grackles are one of the most abundant breeding birds in North America. They can be found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and extending to Canada in the summer breeding season. A Grackle is a large (11 to 13 inches) black bird with purple or bronze iridescence. It has a long, stout black beak and pale yellow eyes. Its tail is long and in flight forms a deeply keeled V-shape. The female Grackle is slightly smaller, less glossy with shorter tail than the male. Although Grackles may appear to be all black, the color varies regionally.
The Grackle Nesting Preferences
Building a Birdhouse For The Grackle
A typical birdhouse for a Grackle is approximately 7 inches wide x 7 inches long x 16 inches high. The diameter of the entrance hole is 21/2 inches and located 14 inches above the floor. Grackles generally nest in pine trees or other evergreen trees, dense shrubs, farmlands and orchards.
The Grackle Mating Habits
Several male Grackles will fly around a female Grackle and perform different displays to attract the female. A male Grackle may fluff its body feathers, spread its wings and tail, vocalize and pose before the female Grackle with its bill held vertical. As the courtship continues, the number of males decreases until only one male is left. When the pair bond is established, the pair flies and sings together.
The Grackle Feeding Preferences
During breeding, Grackles mainly eat insects such as grasshoppers, bees, crickets, spiders, earthworms, snails and other invertebrates. They also capture live fish, eggs and nestlings and flying insects. During migration and winter, Grackles eat mostly grains, seeds, acorns and some fruits. Grackles forage on the ground and use their bills instead of feet to uncover food on the ground.
Interesting Grackle Facts
Grackles defend their nests fiercely by mobbing, chasing or diving at predators including humans. In winter, they join large flocks of mixed species such as European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds. These flocks can exceed one million birds. Grackles have a unique habit of taking hardened pieces of bread or dog food and dipping them in water and eating them after they have softened.
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