This beautiful goth bird lives at the exact intersection of ordinary and extraordinary.
I love grackles very much because they walk like mob bosses and they're always up to something. On the other hand, my mother-in-law finds them very annoying because, like many birds, their babies poop in a little....bag? And then they bring the bag to her cute garden pond? I guess this is a thing a lot of birds do but grackles REALLY love to bring their poop sacs to your pool, or birdbath, or small water feature, or very shiny freshly waxed car that from above is so shiny it looks like water.
My grackle story: When I first moved into this apartment, grackles had destroyed the outer plastic grille on the bathroom fan vent and moved in above the dropped ceiling. I could hear them. I had the bathroom redone as soon as I could for other reasons (at some point in its history someone had removed the support beams under the bathtub, such that it was resting on the lath and plaster of the ceiling below, and nothing else.) I would confer with the contractor each day before I went to work. The first day, I remarked, "There are birds living above the ceiling." I could see him registering it as one of the crazy things clients say. The next morning, however, he exclaimed in surprise, "There were _birds_ in there!!!" Yes, yes there were.
Excellent post. I did not know about the ant baths.
I don't have a 'story' per se, but here in Austin the grackles are basically THE bird you see squawkin' and walkin' around. There's a place - a magic place - for grackles who are lucky enough to discover it: Matt's El Rancho on Lamar. The outdoor patio at this establishment has a huge fountain where grackles bathe and luxuriate, and fallen chips are abundant.
BIG GRACK ATTACK!!!!
I love grackles for being such weird and noisy and deceptively sparkly birds. The icterids (aka blackbirds) are an amazing family in general, but grackles always seem to bring that extra...something.
My favorite grackle memory is from when my spouse and I went to San Antonio several years ago for Rites of Darkness III, a metal festival. Our hotel was a little south of downtown (I think), and there was this intersection right by it that featured hotels on every corner and telephone wires framing the square. Around dusk each day, hundreds and hundreds of great-tailed grackles would fly in and roost on the wires and hotel rooftops. You could stand in the middle of the instersection, turn in a full circle, and there would be an unbroken line of grackles in your line of sight the entire time. And they make such wild sounds! Like all the droid and blaster sounds from the original Star Wars, but sped up a little bit and happening on top of one another. A glorious cacophony!
Anyway, that greeted us every evening and I have been a big grackle fan ever since.
¡Los diablos del aire! <3