Thursday, November 1, 2007

They're outta here

Just a day before Halloween, on a bright warm sunny Tuesday, you could tell they were gone. A week before, you'd find their colonies high up in Longmont trees, making a bunch of noise, perhaps excited about their long journey ahead. But the grackles are gone now headed for the warmer climates of Texas and the Southeast. Today, the day after Halloween, the trees are unusually quiet. You know them by their clucks and loud squeaks, often described as the noise made by a rusty door hinge, or their multi-color iridescence, especially evident in males under the sun.

A lot of folks don't like these birds, claiming that they're ugly, they steal from other birds, they have beady eyes, they raid nests, they attack little children during nesting season for their hair, they can't walk, they dominate bird feeders, they're too loud, they steal worms from robins, etc. But you gotta admit that they liven up the Front Range for three out of the four seasons, and you have to admire their exuberance!

You may still see a straggler or two come through in the next four weeks, on their way south but our Longmont-based colonies have left.

When will they return? I noticed them back this year on March, 15, so I estimate that they're away for about five and a half months. Meanwhile, I'm sure our neighbors in the southern states are noticing the influx of these winter residents.

Want more Longmont birding information? Our best bird blog around is here.

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