Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Grackles, taken one at a time, can be very handsome birds. All black, with iridescent highlights, that bold beak, long strong metallic looking legs and feet, and, in the case of the Boat-tails Grackles of Florida, that impressive tail, they certainly deserve more admiration than they get. That is probably because they can never be taken one at a time. One Boat-tailed Grackle is almost an oxymoron. They come in gangs, and a gang of Boat-tailed Grackles, or grackles of any kind, would never inspire anyone’s admiration. In a group they are noisy, messy, aggressive, and generally obnoxious. This Boat-tailed Grackle was part of a gang that was taking part in a mixed species feeding frenzy around a pool on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge’s Black Point Wildlife Drive after a fresh shrimp hatch. The birds, were, of course, mostly waders…Great and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, White and Glossy Ibis, and a few Roseate Spoonbills…but the Grackles were also taking advantage of situation…scooping up shrimp soup from the surface in what, for them, is a very unusual feeding behavior. This bird flew up and landed right in front of me and I could not resist immortalizing his handsomeness as he struck his pose. Sony RX10iv at 348mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 200 @ f4. Processed in Polarr.

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