Every year I anxiously await the return of meadowlarks to my area. For me they are a true sign that spring is actually coming. In the past couple weeks, I’ve been actively listening for them when I’m out on a run or walk. Alas, not yet. But, I have heard the grackles. They are a noisy lot, but they fill the air with song. I appreciate their boisterous chatter even if it is at 5:00 in the morning on a summer day. They make the world seem alive.

Image result for common grackleGrackles looks like stretched out black birds, with glossy black-bronze feathers. As I see in my own area, they like to flock together in those noisy groups, often in pine trees. These birds forage on the grounds in fields, parks, and lawns for seeds and grains; they’ve adapted well to human landscapes. In some areas, Colorado included, they migrate back in the spring to raise a family (or two!). The females are responsible for building the nest, usually in pine trees, but the males will help with repairs. They use twigs, grass, leaves, and other materials, and then line the nest cup with mud and soft grasses. Once the home is complete, females lay 1-7 eggs. Grackles may nest in colonies of up to 200 PAIRS. That’s a lot of chatter, but it’s awesome.