Order: Passeriformes, Family: Icteridae
Appearance/Behavior: This medium-sized (28 – 34 cm) blackbird passes through the study site in large flocks in late summer. The common grackle has a long, keeled tail (blue arrow) and a relatively heavy pointed beak. The adult is glossy black, with a yellow eye. The juvenile (shown above) is dull brown with a dark eye (red arrow). The series of 10 images stemming from this encounter (see representatives below) suggests the gregarious behavior of this species, showing a juvenile on the pile itself, and what appears to be an adult perched in the distance behind the pile.
Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: A rare visitor, represented by a single encounter of two birds (recorded in several consecutive images).
Seasonal Activity: Documented in late summer.
Daily Activity: Sole recorded visit was diurnal.
Similar Species: The common grackle bears some resemblance to several other bird species documented at the compost piles. The adult grackle is black like the American crow but is a considerably smaller bird. From the rear, an obscured view of a juvenile common grackle could potentially be confused with an American robin, but a glance of the robin’s red breast would permit an easy distinction. The juvenile may show some similarity to the mourning dove, which also has a long tail. The dove however is lighter in color and is proportionately a more plump bird.