Eight Reasons Grackles Are Awesome


(Texas Monthly) I know I am in the minority on this one, and this might make me sound like some kind of bird hipster, but I love grackles. And of the three species of grackle that fly Texas skies, I love the urban-dwelling, grocery store parking lot–invading, great-tailed grackle the most, so much so that I think it should be the state bird of Texas. (For now, I have to content myself with considering it my spirit animal.) After all, as Texans we like to go our own way. Why are we content to share the mockingbird with the likes of Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee?

And while some people swear they’ve been attacked by mother grackles, I think those people are mistaking them for mockingbirds. Personally, I have never been assaulted by a grackle but have been bushwhacked by mockingbirds on at least three occasions, two of them very embarrassing (try and look manly with a mockingbird flitting around your head).

Here are some more reasons grackles are among the coolest birds in urban Texas:

The Way They Look:
Sinuous, lithe, and undulating, in flight the grackle looks like it was handcrafted by Modigliani or Brancusi. People predisposed to hate the grackle write them off as merely black, and sometimes even call them blackbirds or crows, but look closer, especially in the bright Texas sun, and the male grackle reveals itself as sporting a violet-tinged sapphire chest and head. And those tails! Tucked away in a compact V-shape while afoot and fanned out in flight, they are so immense it seems a wonder that these birds can fly at all.

The Way They Sound:
What’s more Texas than a hearty symphony of grackle racket? These birds can sound like everything from a squeaky door hinge to explosions of static from a radio left on at high volume to laughing whistles to monkey-like rattles. On warm spring mornings, their orchestrated cacophony just sounds like home. In Texas, they put the “jungle” in urban jungle.

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