PHOTO PROVIDED BY BRETT SLATTERY
Realtor and photographer Brett Slattery installed a bird feeder at his Rotonda West home, presenting a learning curve for the birds. “The ledges of this feeder are too small for this (bird),” Slattery said. “So here he is trying to straddle himself upon the post holding up the feeder and the feeder itself. But then, that pushes the feeder away from the post and he ends up in this goofy position doing the splits. As you can tell by his grumpy expression, he’s not too happy about this.” The bird soon discovered it was easier to go after the seeds on the lawn below that had been scattered by smaller birds.
This is most likely a female boat-tailed grackle, according to local biologist Bill Dunson. They have yellow eyes and the very long tail and brownish color indicates a female. “Grackles are considered pests,” Dunson said. “They are native ... but are food hogs and somewhat obnoxious. In slang parlance they are considered ‘trash birds,’ which may be an unfortunate way of looking at the world but there it is. Cardinals are high quality birds and grackles are low.” For more on the darker side of birds, turn to page --------.
Grackles, cowbirds and redwings gather in large groups in winter and sometimes bother people locally by carpeting the ground beneath their roosting spots with poop, according to a local biologist.
All three birds are in the same family, the icterids, according to biologist Bill Dunson.
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