Blackbird, fly

Common Grackle in my hand

The Common Grackle, a bird in my hand.

As in the fairy tales, be careful what you wish for.

A cackle of grackles (yes, that is the proper collective noun for these icterids) has been visiting for a few days. This morning I wished one would come close enough, or hold still long enough, for me to take a good picture.

Less than a minute later… BAM

Grackle window strike

…a grackle hit the kitchen window, fell to the ground and lay motionless.

“This is spooky,” I thought, and went out to check on it. About half the birds I’ve ever seen hit a window are stunned for a few minutes then they fly off. I was hoping this was the case.

Grackle in grass

Poor bird. It wasn’t moving.

I picked it up gently and checked for obvious wounds or broken bones and found nothing except a few loose feathers on its left shoulder. I held it for about five minutes, then I let it rest on my lap where it was mostly motionless except for mild panting and an occasional blink of its eyes.

Then it pooped on my pants, so I got a nice towel for it to rest on, warm in the sun on the back deck.

Common Grackle on a towel

I hung around and kept an eye on it, even chasing away one of my chickens who came up the back steps. A few times the grackle started to stiffen up and become especially unresponsive; it looked like it was going to do one of those bird-giving-up-and-dying things.

So I encouraged it: “C’mon, bird, don’t give up. Grackles don’t quit!”

About half an hour after the window strike, quite suddenly it popped back to lively life, hopped a couple of times, opened its black wings and flew off into the shady woods.

“Woohoo!”

Later I ran some errands including buying a package of WindowAlert decals (butterfly shapes) from Rolling Green Nursery in Greenland, NH.

To get them to stick right, I had to wash the window. The one damn window in the whole house I can’t flip open to wash from the inside and I have to use a ladder. And my husband is in Barcelona. And I’m afraid of heights.

It’s the only window without a screen in summer, other than half the sliding glass door. We had a problem with bird strikes there too, until I added Window Alert Snowflake Decals a couple of years ago.

I stuck those ultraviolet-reflecting butterflies on good. (Photos by daughter Anna, at home in her pajamas on a Saturday.)

Good to know…

All About Birds: Window Collisions

Hope: New glass technology could stop hundreds of millions of birds from flying into windows every year

two grackles

The rest of the day the grackles came close enough, and held still long enough, for photos. They flew over me while I was in the back field weeding the sprouting corn. Spotted them while I was out back too with Anna, my sister Fiona and our dogs.

Grackles seem to like the Audubon Workshop High Energy Suet Nuggets best.

grackle

Grackles can be pests especially for farmers, but I like them. They are spunky and attractive.

Common Grackles are blackbirds that look like they’ve been slightly stretched. They’re taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird, with a longer, more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies. Grackles walk around lawns and fields on their long legs or gather in noisy groups high in trees, typically evergreens.

A bright golden eye gives grackles an intent expression.

grackle on suet

This evening I celebrated my strange encounter by inventing a new cocktail…

The Common Grackle Cocktail

The Common Grackle.

1 part ROOT
3 parts Coca-Cola
ice

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