A few days ago I happened to be in Glen Ferris on the banks of the Kanawha River. Since the shutdown I’ve mostly stayed in the big blue truck when I’m out and used my long lens from the truck windows. I’d stopped here hoping to catch up with some ducks but after a few minutes of looking at the empty water I knew that that had missed them. I was about to pull back onto the road when a movement in the bushes caught my attention.
It was a glint of green feathers that I noticed. Thinking that it might have been a mallard I eased the truck forward to change my angle and get a better look. What I found was a bird that wasn’t really a water bird and not nearly as large as my fleeting glimpse had lead me to believe. If not for the bird’s diminutive size I might have thought it was crow with an oddly iridescent sheen. The head actually changed color depending on the angle of the sun. I have heard of the common grackle but I’d not really paid much attention to them until now. I knew that they were around but I didn’t bother to learn more about them.
So when I got home I started to read up on them. They’re pretty adaptive and it seems the human activity favors their spread. They will hunt insects, feed on vegetation and even pull minnows out of the shallow waters. They’re in the same class of birds as the mocking bird but their songs are shorter and their voice is harsh but they do mimic other birds and they can even learn human speech. My short amount of research shows that some people have them as pets and the YouTube videos show that the bond pretty well with humans. Their iridescent plumage and long tail feathers also make them quite attractive. I’ll have to do a little more research but for now they definitely have my attention.
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