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Common Grackles Nest-building

4-23-18 common grackle 0U1A0687

Common Grackles are hard to miss and hard to mistake for any other bird, with their yellow eyes, iridescent bronze or purple plumage and long, keel-shaped tails. Most of the spring migrants have reached their breeding grounds, and courtship, mating and nest-building are underway.

Because grackles begin reproduction so early in the season, conifers are the nesting site of choice due to the cover they provide. Females tend to choose the actual site for a nest, and in so doing can be quite fickle, often abandoning partially constructed nests and selecting alternative sites. They earn this right, as they’re usually doing all the construction work, although males have been observed with nesting materials, helping to build and repair nests.

Look for their 6-8”-diameter, large bulky nests near water, agricultural fields or near human habitation. They are usually built four to twenty feet above the ground. If you find a bird on the nest, it will most likely be an incubating female (slightly less glossy than male) – males not only do not have a brood patch and do not participate in incubating the eggs or brooding the young, but roughly half of the males desert their mates during this time. Those that do remain participate in the feeding of their young nestlings.

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3 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Striking birds! I am very excited to have 2 male Hummingbirds here this morning. I put 2 feeders out a few days ago….we’ve already seen them a lot!

    April 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

  2. Bill On The Hill...

    A striking photograph Mary & a most beautiful bird in it’s own right…

    Awoke to 2″ of snow this morning here in the highlands of north central Vermont as it was truly a winter paradise, however it is melting off at a rapid rate…

    I will keep an eye out for the grackles & the red wings amongst the cattails down at the pond as spring is rapidly approaching it’s halfway point towards summer…

    Currently, nest building is underway with the phoebes flying around the house & inside the garage…

    Once again, a fascinating story on a common bird…

    Bill Farr…

    April 30, 2018 at 10:25 am

  3. Sharon Walker

    These are the most irritating birds. They are like the Hells Angel—come in packs!! Loud and drive the other birds away They are the bullies of the bird world. The Males don’t accept responsibility of their young. I find these birds on the level of roaches—no redeeming value. >

    May 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

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