Jul 06 2012
Last month a common grackle carried a piece of stale bread to my birdbath and dropped it in to soak. He flipped it over once, then retrieved and ate it.
Though this is common behavior in grackles most other birds don’t do it, so I thought “What a great topic for a blog!” and began a quest for a photo of a grackle dipping bread in water. This was amazingly difficult to find but here’s something even better: The Backyard Bag Feeder Project.
Starting in 1998, Zach Glenwright set up computers, video cams, a tray of water and a specially constructed “bag feeder” to attract and film animals in his backyard. In the screenshot above you can see his foam-filled Ziploc bag has cutouts with peanuts inside. Birds and animals yanked food out of the bags but the plastic slowed them down enough to film them doing interesting things.
And the grackles were certainly interesting.
Here a grackle parent collects peanuts to feed his chicks but before he puts the food in their mouths he does a very Grackle Thing — he dips the peanuts in water. Sometimes he dips them more than once. Sometimes he leaves them in the water to soak. This has no affect on the peanuts’ consistency but he does it anyway.
He obviously prefers Dunkin Peanuts. His kids like them, too.
Click on the screenshot above to watch Zach Glenwright’s grackle video on YouTube.
Click here to read more about grackles and their love of water.
(photo is a screenshot from the Backyard Bag Feeder Project by Zach Glenwright on YouTube)