Ode to a Grackle

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Ode to a Grackle

A variation of the crow,
you strut wherever you may go
unless you’re flying post to tree
to get a better look at me.

You stick your chest out, spread your tail
horizontal, you haughty male,
then fold it neatly, like a fan,
to vertical, because you can!

Three toes in front and one behind,
a songbird of the perching kind,
at a moment’s notice, you’re on the wing,
soaring above everything.

No cat that ever stalked a grackle
succeeded in his stealthy tackle.
No quagmire brings about your fall,
for you just glide above them all.

Every grackle that comes along
sings an ever-changing song.
He chirps, he purrs, he clucks, he whirrs,
whistles, squeegees, chatters, chirrs.

No bird save you, my coal-black grackle,
has such variety of cackle.
And when you deign to land en masse,
your music sounds like broken glass.

Though Mexico was your first home,
both south and north you chose to roam.
Like me, you dared to spread your wings
to see what that adventure brings.

And when you perch upon my tree
to share your company with me,
such varied music swells from your chest,
of all loud neighbors, I love you best.


*Grackle feathers were used ceremonially by the Aztecs, who it is speculated, brought them northwards for this purpose. Zanate is the Aztec name for what in the north we call mynah birds or grackles.

Prompts today are save, variation, grackle, quagmire and chest.

10 thoughts on “Ode to a Grackle

  1. Sam

    NICE POEM, but when I saw the photos, my thought was OMG another one giving me the bird. One good thing about my place is that Grackle is definitely a City Bird, and i see very few of them out here, they like parking places where they have many cars to poop on~! Sorry but there are people like me and the feelings must be mutual, because every time they see my car they leave me a message of what they think about me. Even Noah did not like them and sent them off to find a dry parking lot.


  2. Sam


    There are many forms of the GRACKLE,
    identified according to where they are:
    They are:
    boat-tailed grackle * Carib grackle * common grackle * golden-tufted grackle * greater Antillean grackle * great-tailed grackle * mountain grackle * Nicaraguan grackle * red-bellied grackle * slender-billed grackle * velvet-fronted grackle

    But there is only one form of a GROCKLE
    However, they are known by many names according to where they happen to be:
    They are:
    Ugly American * Damn Yankee * Yank * Tourist * Rebel * Red Neck * Latino
    and many, many others that I dare not mentioned here~!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msjadeli

    A loving and fitting tribute to this bird. I visited my cousin in Austin, TX many moons ago. There was a street we walked down where it sounded like hundreds of grackles were in the trees. They do have a very varied vocal (V3) repertoire. We have them here in MI but I haven’t seen them often where I live now, in a rural area, but I saw them a lot more when I lived in the city. You have captured some lovely photos of them. One of these days, I might ask permission to use a few in my haiga.


  4. Pingback: Ode to a Grackle — lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – ° BLOG ° Gabriele Romano

  5. Marilyn Armstrong

    Yes, you live where they were first imported from central America by the Aztecs. Little did they know. Now, because of the climate changes, they have mostly abandoned a large section of their western and Mexican habitats and oved up to Canada and coincidentally, New England. You have the boat-tailed ones. We have the bronze and sometimes, purple versions but in recent years we’re seeing the boat-tailed and great-tailed versions to. The birds have proved VERY adaptable. Pity more birds are not nearly as adaptable. The purple ones used to live further south but changing temperatures have brought them all north.

    One of the things the article in Audubon said was that many garden birds have learned to cope with humans, but grackles are enthusiastic participants in the human world. They totally disrespect us. We probably deserve it 😀



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