I can honestly say that I have a "true" and "meaningful" appreciation of all in nature. The seen and un-seen, the rare and the common. I can sit in my back yard and truly enjoy the comings and the goings of an American robin, a Northern cardinal, and a Blue jay. Very colorful birds to be sure, but still very common birds. Sometimes being "common" makes a creature too under appreciated by many. No fault to the critter, but out of habit by man we tend to take so much for granted the things we have much of~thinking that they will always be there. But is is actually amazing of what we can still learn by just observing the "most common". Take the Common grackle for instance...Here is a bird that is a bane to many people...why? Because it is so numerous? Because is is just a black and drab bird? Because it does not sing a pretty song? Well, open your eyes, your mind, and your heart~do some old fashioned observing of this bird-learn to appreciate some of the qualities that we hold in high esteem in the human world that are also found in the avian world.
Starting with looks...I do think the Common grackle is a pretty bird. A simple and elegant black~a high lustre black~with a purplish lustre sheen on its head. Check out its fashionable tail~a fine cut and nothing but style. And pride...note the pride in the stride of this bird. A strut if you will! Confidence! A shimmer of arrogance may seem to surface, but look deeper...you can actually find a truly caring and dedicated bird here~a bird that sometimes has worry but never gives up. I know-I am pretty anthropomorphic and John Burroughs would by cringing right now if he could read these words, BUT, there has to be more than just instinct here. Many unforseen tragedies occur in the lives of birds everyday. I just do not think they could hold all the "just instincts" within them to deal and face with each individual happening every day!
Over the years I have seen many things that have become endearing to me. One of these events just happened to involve a Common grackle.
On a night quite a few years ago a severe thunderstorm rolled through...a real toad strainer. The rain was intense, there was frequent lightning and thunder and the winds rocked the trees...a full fledged thunderstorm. By morning though the skies were clear and the sun shined. All was refreshed and re-newed. I opened my windows and let the fresh and clean air in. All that day I heard the squawking of baby birds--hungry baby birds. I did not think much of it because it was the time of year. This squawking was consistent though and went on the whole entire day. Several times when I walked past the window and looked out I did see a grackle pacing on the ground in the yard across the street. It was always there the several times that I looked out. I do not know how many trips past the window I took before I realized that this grackle was pacing around a nest that was on the ground. The nest had fallen from the large cedar tree the night before in the storm. I then realized that this was where all the squawking was coming from. I decided to take a closer look--I crossed the street and went to the nest and the calling was getting louder. I turned over the nest and was absolutely amazed when I found two half grown baby grackles calling out profusely and the third one lying dead. All day long these nestlings had been crying out with their hunger and all day long the parent bird listened to this, in distress, and tried with all it had to feed and care for its young, but not being able to get to them. It had paced around the nest all day! A devoted parent it was though-never giving up and calling back to reassure the young birds. I instantly, at that moment, found a whole new respect for this bird! I picked the nest up with the young and put it up in the highest crotch of the cedar tree that I could reach. Before I could even get back across the street the adult bird was already at the nest feeding these famished babies. It did not take long at all for this grackle to find the new placement of the nest after being on the ground all day with it. I kept up with the young for the next week and they did fledge from the nest okay.
This simple and small observation gave me a whole new appreciation for this bird that not many are fond of. It gave me a new perspective towards it and taught me some other simple lessons to apply in my own life. One of Gods simple beings--winged beings--a simple lesson indeed. We just need to be observant of all life around us, to take the time, and see through to the qualities...May we never take any of life for granted!
3 days ago