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Black Rainbow Bird

The Grackle is a gasoline slicked songbird. In bright light his head shines shocking electric blue and rainbows down through all the colors to the pink tips of his tail. I’ve been watching him forage under the feeder and he walks a straight line in the shadow of the telephone pole where he looks like a gloomy black bird with gangly parts. Presumably he knows what his feathers do in the sun and is keeping it to himself.


His song is in the language family of many of the Blackbirds around here. It starts as a squeak, low in his butt and grows fast to inflate the entire bird and then squiggles through his intestines ruffling all his feathers on the way up and whistles out his beak. The squeak part sounds a bit like a rusty gate and the whistle part sounds like that high pitch noise that comes out of a balloon if you just stretch it shut.

His cousin, the Great Tailed Grackle who I’ve visited in Central America has a spectacular repertoire of robot songs, cartoon songs and sophisticated advanced bird technology songs.


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