Monday, May 18, 2009

Dancing Rabbit Nature Moment, or, Grackles are Weird

Photo by Tony Tanoury on Flickr (he has some fantastic bird photos!)

Our home here at Dancing Rabbit is situated right across the path from some woods which are, as Robert Frost would say, "are lovely, dark and deep." They continue about 80 yards to the smaller swimming pond, giving us a buffer, at least on one side of our house, from the bustling humanity that is often DR. In the ten years since we arrived, the trees have grown taller and more lush, and provide more and more shade, and more and more entertainment.

Kurt's office window faces onto the woods, and so he spends a lot of time gazing out the window. In the last few days we've had torrential rain, and there is always something going on in the resulting puddles. This morning he said "the grackles keep flying up to the puddle and dropping white things in it." Wondering what these white things were, I speculated flowers, but that didn't really make much sense. I would have been content sitting inside on my butt, drinking coffee and speculating into eternity, but Kurt is a man of action. He went outside, scooped up a "white thing," and brought it in to show me. It was about the size of a quarter, white, gelatinous, and pretty gross. After a brief internet search, I found the following on the Mass Audubon site:

In late spring and summer, owners of swimming pools are surprised to observe large black birds repeatedly dropping small white sacs into their pools. The birds, Common Grackles, are dropping "fecal sacs" that have been removed from the nest. Young grackles excrete waste encased in these gelatinous sacs, an adaptation that promotes a clean nest.

Euwww. I hope Kurt washed his hands before eating breakfast!


Anonymous said...

guess we need to get them buckets...

amy said...

OMG! How funny! This story totally cracked me up. So happy that you shared it! :D