Great-Tailed Grackle Congregation

COMMON NAME: Great-Tailed Grackle
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Quiscalus mexicanus
FAMILY: Icteridae

Other Common Names: Mexican Grackle

Click on any photo to enlarge

Although this blog is for documenting all the wildlife on our one “Acre in Texas”, I wanted to share these photos of a Grackle congregation I saw last night as we were driving into Fort Worth at I-20 and S. Hulen St.:

You’ll want to click to enlarge the photo. You can see that there are Grackles on everything… street signs, light posts, electric lines, business signs, in the trees, on the ground.

Since we were moving in traffic, I didn’t get to take all the shots I wanted. If I did, I’d have shots of thousands of them lining the edge of the overpass above, and filling the ground all underneath. They filled all the rooftops of all the shopping plazas, banks, restaurants, and in some places just about every bit of ground space and just everywhere you looked surrounding the intersection. They covered everything that wasn’t moving, it was virtually a sea of black birds.

This photo shows a bit of the view of the traffic signs and the overpass. The picture quality isn’t the best – they’re taken through a windshield at dusk in a moving vehicle.

This one shows a bit of a business roof-top. They lined every single roof in sight in this manner. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Grackles congregate in one place before.

According to Wikipedia, this species of Grackle likes to congregate at dawn and at dusk each day for a bit, then suddenly and simultaneously fly off and go back to doing their own thing. Couple this behavior with the season where local Grackle populations are at their peak, and you get daily events with thousands of them occupying a relatively small area, filling the place with amazing and abundant sights and sounds of the Grackle.

Quite an interesting bird as far as I’m concerned!

Update 10 Dec 2012 – I received a bit of helpful information from long-time bird expert Greg Lasley, who commented on photos I shared at iNaturalist.org:

“These flocks are typically a fall and winter thing. They pick spots they like and can gather in the thousands. Same thing in Austin, Houston, McAllen, virtually any city in their range. In the spring and summer the birds are more paired up and these big evening gatherings do not occur, but come October or November…watch out. Woe unto the person who parks their car under these gatherings!”

Thanks Greg, I appreciate the info!

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2 thoughts on “Great-Tailed Grackle Congregation

  1. Thanks. When I took these photos I hadn't yet realized that they also congregate on our property sometimes. A large number of them will gather in the tops of the large oak trees around the house. They make a ton of noise, but I love hearing it. One day recently I was sitting in the yard when this happened and watched them fly from tree top to tree top, harvesting acorns. Then, one by one, they'd swoop down from the the nearest oak tree, land on the Crape Myrtle next to the bird bath, then hop onto the bird bath to take a few sips. They did this one-by-one for awhile until all the birds flew together off the property.

    Like

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