Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) A large icterid. The 32 cm (13 in) long adult has a long dark bill, pale yellowish eyes and a long tail. Its plumage is an iridescent black or purple on the head. The adult female is slightly smaller and less glossy. The breeding habitat is open and semi-open areas across North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The nest is a well-concealed cup in dense trees (particularly pine) or shrubs - usually near water. Sometimes the Common Grackle will nest in cavities or in man-made structures. It often nests in colonies (some being quite large). This bird is a permanent resident in much of its range. Northern birds migrate in flocks to the southeastern United States. The Common Grackle forages on the ground, in shallow water or in shrubs. It will steal food from other birds. It is omnivorous; eating insects, minnows, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, grain and even small birds. Along with some other species of grackles, the common grackle is known to practice "anting," rubbing insects on its feathers to apply liquids such as formic acid secreted by the insects. This bird's song is particularly harsh, especially when in a flock calling. The range of this bird expanded west as forests were cleared. In some areas, it is now considered a pest by farmers because of their large numbers and fondness for grain. Despite a currently robust population, a recent study by the National Audubon Society of data from the Christmas Bird Count indicated that populations had declined by 61% to a population of 73 million from historic highs of over 190 million birds. Source: Wikipedia.org . Kearny Lake, Nova Scotia. 03 May 2008.
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