The “F” stories voting is still open . . .

. . . and if you’ve read them, the writers hope you voted for your favorite of the trio HERE. That’s also where you can find links to the stories so that — you know — if you’ve yet to read them, you can get to reading them and then vote. Don’t worry; you still have days to go before the voting closes. I mean, not weeks, but you know, somewhere around three to five days before the “G” Stories go up.

I know there’s more to people’s lives right now than reading amateurish forays into fiction writing. Still, you know, if you want a break from depressing reality, you could give said amateurish fiction efforts a go.

Right! Enough of that.

Moving on to . . . Common Grackles.

Grackles and Robins are the two main birds I see in abundance whenever I sit outside, the camera on my lap, a coffee in hand, and snacks nearby. By the way, aside from the last four photos, all these were shot using fairly high ISO values during cloudy days. Hence why a bit noisy and less-than-tack-sharp.

If you clicked on the link about these birds, you might have read that while at first glance they appear black, they sport other hues. To wit . . .

The typical behavior of the birds is to either puff up and call mates, or to stare intently at the surroundings . . . looking for mates.

Once in a while, I catch them acting all goofy-like . . .

Here’s one fanning its wings and tail after what I presume was a massive fart.
“Eh! When you have to let one go, you just let it go. I think Frozen had a song about it.”
“Get ready; here comes another!”

But, mostly, they look intense and stoic and — due to an unfortunate propensity for humans to anthrophormize animal visages — they look pissed off about something or other.

They often gather in small groups. For instance, this next tree is about 160 feet from where I sit (give or take five feet) and this is a common scene . . .

Three Grackles will land on the branches and each will look in a different direction. Then, one will take off in one direction . . .
. . . ten seconds later, one of the other Grackles will take off in another direction . . .
. . . and ten seconds after that, the remaining Grackle will take off in yet another direction.

Here’s the thing . . . they each will go to another tree where they meet up with other Grackles and repeat the process.

When the males make their call, they puff up, flare their tails, and vocalize

Ready?
Click to play:
OK, so that wasn’t it. Click this one:

The link about the Common Grackle has a video clip you can play if interested in what they really sound like.

Anyway, they’re interesting to watch.

“Hey, what’s that over there?”
“I think they need me!”
“Here I come to save the day!”

Some of the posturing and vocalization is directed at other males in what I assume is a non-physical challenge. Also interesting, during the display, they close their eyelids and it makes them look . . . well, evil. You can see it in the previous “I’m Batman” photo and also here. Pay attention to the eyes of both males during this sequence.

It begins
Both birds have their eyelids closed
Open
Closed again
Back to open

I’ve only seen a few females in the last few weeks which makes me think they’re in their nests . . . or they are keeping well clear of all these guys.

I’m wrapping up this post well short of the kind of really long posts I used to do back in the day (HERE). By the way, that post has a few of my muffin and bagel faces (toward the end of the post).

Sad note: I looked at that post and noticed both ElBob and Colonialist commented on the post.

As usual, you can click on each photo above for a version twice as large or go to THIS SmugMug gallery for the full-zoom versions of the photos.

Anyway, stay safe, and if so inclined, read the stories and then please vote.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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