Category:  Nature Photography | Posted: April 15, 2018

Grackle in Flight

Colorful Wings

by Envision

Birds Photos Contest Entry 
This is a male Common Grackle. The sunlight hit him just right to show off the iridescent colors of his wings. These guys look like typical blackbirds but with longer tails and a more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies.

Grackles have a hard keel on the inside of the upper mandible that they use for sawing open acorns. They score the outside of the narrow end, then bite the acorn open.

They also use ants to rid themselves of parasites (theoretically, there isn't much supporting evidence for that being the reason for the behavior). Over 200 species of birds do this, squirrels do too. It is referred to as "anting." Grackles will hunch over on the ground, wings spread and let ants crawl over their body and feathers. The ants secrete formic acid that supposedly gets rid of the parasites. In addition to ants, grackles have been seen using walnut juice, lemons and limes, marigold blossoms, chokecherries, and mothballs in a similar fashion.

Post Type Photography Mixed Media Minor
Lumix FZ1000
1/2500, f/4, ISO 400, +0.3 EV
Cropped, adjusted sky color.

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