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.
Warm weather being upon us, and self somewhat paltry in stamina due to my own laziness, I have begun to take longish sort of walks in the not-quite summer weather. I walk briskly. I stride vigourously along the shoreline of the lake, watching the gulls and terns at the fishing, the sandpipers, dancing at the very edge of the water. And I encountered The Grackle.
See this thing:
That is a grackle, a not uncommon creature in these parts... They have their points.Their plumage, sooty from a distance, upon close observation, turns out to be iridescent - deep blue and green and purple gleam out from the black depths. So beauty we might grant them. That is one point. They are also fierce - brawly fierce. I have, myself, seen a mere handful of them drive away a raven, and it was a mighty satisfying sight indeed. But neither iridescent plumage nor ferocity can change the fact that I like the grackle very little. They are Not Nice Birds.
They have terrifying yellow eyes:
|From Hilton Pond|
And they used these horrible orbs to give the innocent passer-by the malocchio. And if said passer-by is not intimidated by it, the grackle follows, golden eyes fixed maniacally upon him:
|From National Park Service|
|From eBird Seed|
Still, I am not one to be intimidated by a small, iridescent blackbird, however evilly he might stare. I've got a fairly decent stare myself, if we come right down to it. But grackles, you see, have another trick hidden up their feathers: for the sheer hell of it they dive-bombing things.....
|From ABC Local|
Being dive-bombed by a grackle is exciting. I know, One did that to me this morning - cawed ill-humouredly first, then hurled itself down on my from upon high. It wasn't out for blood. Its claws merely scraped against my scalp as it snagged a great lock of my hair and attempted to fly off with it. It was alarming and startling, but I can't say it really hurt. I thought I must be near the thing's nest, but a glance upwards, revealed a nest around which a whole squadron of swallows was wheeling, so I could not even find a good excuse for the wretched beast. It was just a mean-hearted bird that had probably had a bunch if indignant swallows chasing it off all morning, and figured it just needed to put the fear of God into some unsuspecting, flightless beast... and I was handy.