Tag Archives: grackles


23 Jun

The Squire, quite frankly, is as deaf as an old shoe. Oh, he swears I am too soft-spoken, but the truth of the matter is the man just plain can’t hear.

We have five birdfeeders in our yard, plus one we sit on the ground for the squirrels. It’s bad enough the blue jays try to eat us out of house and home, but the bloody, bloody grackles also swoop down and grab whatever they can get their beaks on. I don’t mind them coming in the winter when it snows and bringing their side-kicks, the starlings, along with them, but it annoys me when they hang around all summer, too.

To the best of my knowledge, grackles were the only critter that could make my dad angry. When they lived in Bel Air, he would occasionally sit on the patio and snipe at them with a B-B gun. “I know they are God’s creatures and they need to eat, but they just don’t know when to quit. A bunch of bloody vultures.” He trained men to go overseas during WWII, so I suppose that’s where he learned to shoot (it never occurred to me to ask) and he seldom missed. It wasn’t a constant thing, but from time to time he’d pop off two or three.

This morning I was fussing about the grackles in the front yard  and mentioned that my father didn’t like them either.

The Squire turned to me in utter bewilderment. “Your dad didn’t like jackals?”

Vampires and Other Animals

20 May

This morning I threw a batch of chili into the crockpot, and was just reaching for the second jar of seasoning when I realized I’d put a teaspoon of dried garlic into a recipe than called for a quarter that amount. I managed to scrape out a good bit of it, and then put in the required teaspoon of dried onion, but I don’t think The Squire and I will have to worry about vampires for a while.

Yesterday I walked up our road about a half a mile, picking up aluminum cans and other trash. There was a plastic cup half buried in a pile of dried leaves, so I moved the leaves aside and disturbed a very annoyed juvenile ground hog. The little fellow could have sat in my cupped hands, but he was pitching a fit large enough for several critters. It was hard to tell which of us was the most startled by the encounter. He reminded me of a kitten – all arched back, fluffed fur, and sparks, but not really much to back it up. Except a set of teeth that looked as if they were ready for business.

Tsula, our mama fox, has obviously been coming down to the house early in the morning. (Cherokee for fox.) We’ve been making sure she has a good sized dinner in the evening, but you can certainly notice that foxy aroma at 8 AM. I did find about two-thirds of a squirrel’s tail on the walk one morning, but haven’t seen any bobtailed animals around the feeder, so I suppose she did get one at least. We are now making sure she gets breakfast in bed, as well as room service as night.

Eddie came to the door Sunday afternoon with a female cardinal in his mouth. I managed to get the bird, and The Squire locked the cat in the kitchen. The bird sat on my finger, panting, while I stroked her head and crooned to her. Once she’d stopped panting, I carried her outside, and she flew off into the trees immediately. I was going to put her in the bushes to catch her breath and get her bearings, but apparently that wasn’t necessary.

If the blasted cat was going to actually catch something, why didn’t he grab one of the vultures that hang around here? A grackle or a starling, for instance?

I am working a switchboard tomorrow, so The Squire and I went over to the library. I don’t like getting paid for reading a book, but you can’t make a switchboard ring, and I can’t stare at the wall for eight hours. While I was writing this, he started to read one of his science fiction books. I just asked him a question, and he popped to the surface as if he’d been sound asleep. “Huh? Huh? Wha..?”

He’s so cute when he does that.

Alas, Poor Yorick

18 Feb

Never let it be said I am a fan of grackles, but I do understand the birds have to eat, so we keep putting out vast amounts of seed when it snows. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to fill the feeders for a few days, hoping they would find another place to haunt, and then it snowed Monday night, so we were back at it.

This morning I went out to fill the tube where we put peanuts for the squirrels and found a grackle inside, curled up with his head under his wing, frozen solid.

He received a ceremonial burial in the trash can.

Here We Go Again

17 Mar

We woke up this morning to six inches of heavy, wet,  snow and about six million grackles and starlings, all shouting at once. Honestly, we had three days of fairly warm weather, and now this! I pulled on my boots and went out to fill the birdfeeders and put out peanuts for the squirrels.

We really need to get some new feeders. The two small ones have been dropped, tossed, and rolled across the yard more times than I count, thanks to the busy fingers of our local raccoons. What was once a lovely copper colored globe with a clear plastic tube is now a badly misshapen ghost of its former self.  The squirrels managed to reach through the wires and ate the two bottom feeding perches, so The Squire had to use hot glue to insert some sort of plastic plumbing doohickey to keep the seed from running out. As it is, the whole business is so crooked, the seed runs out anyway.

This is the better-looking of the two feeders. The grill is supposed to sit inside the bottom plate, and the tube should be perfectly vertical. The wires obviously are not supposed to be broken in several places.  All in all, I’d say we about ready for couple of new ones. These have served Trojan duty and are ready for a proper burial.


Me and Tippi Hedren

7 Mar

Every morning, I go out and fill our three bird feeders – a large hopper-type by the stream, a ball shaped feeder by the den window, theoretically designed to let small birds feed while keeping out the large ones, and a second ball feeder outside the kitchen window. We also put peanuts in a length of PVC pipe for the squirrels.

When I go out, the only birds near the feeders are the little guys, sparrows, titmice, nuthatches, and the like, but if I look around, every tree has a contingent of grackles and starlings, waiting, waiting, waiting…As soon as the feeders are filled, they swoop down, flapping their wings at the other birds and clinging to the sides of the ball feeders, making them sway and spilling seeds all over the ground, where they push and shove each other, as greedy and pushy as a bunch of politicians, and just about as useful.

Someone once told me they had gotten a kitty litter bucket full of sour mash (I felt it wisest not to ask where) and spread it all over the ground. The big bullies loved the stuff, gobbling it down and getting drunker by the minute. When they were all well and truly sloshed, he gathered up a black trash bag of the feathered ba – birds – and took them to the State Park about fifteen miles north of here and just dumped them out onto the ground, figuring they’d be too disoriented to find their way back home.

In the meantime, I feel a real sympathy with Tippi Hedren.