The Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus, Quiscale à longue queue) is the Phoenix, Arizona version of Calgary’s Black-billed Magpie. They are common in residential areas and commercial areas with food garbage; both are long-tailed omnivores of a similar size; and they make loud, often harsh, sounds. Great-tailed Grackles are non-migratory and mostly live in the southwestern US, Mexico and Central America. I met them when J and I went to visit his folks in Mesa this past December.
My first Arizona bird photo! J and I were waiting for our tasty breakfast at the Essence Bakery Café in Tempe when I saw this grackle on the lawn outside the café. So I sneaked outside with my camera for a few quick snaps.
Long-tailed strut. Looking fierce!
A female Great-tailed Grackle. Half the size of a male and a different colour! I saw this gal in a lovely Palo Verde tree while waiting in line at the McDonald’s drive-thru.
J, his parents and I went to check out the Gilbert Water Ranch on a Saturday afternoon. An amazing place to go birding in the middle of suburbia! It started as water-treatment ponds in 1986 but in 1999, the Town of Gilbert decided to create a Riparian Preserve on part of the land. By that time, the birds had already found the water and the birders were already watching the birds. The variety and quantity of birds is astounding and the trails and plants are beautiful too. One of the birds and one of the plants I saw: a female Great-tailed Grackle in a mesquite tree.
A male and female on a Mesa street light – Sunday morning from my in-laws’ driveway. Because female Great-tailed Grackles are smaller than males, they need less food and therefore survive in greater numbers than males (allaboutbirds
A female Great-tailed Grackle on the lawn of a neighbourhood park in Mesa. Killdeer and Mourning Doves were also pecking at the lawn (killdeer in the background).
Male on a Mesa rooftop.
Two females on a Mesa rooftop.
I thought this was an orange or lemon tree but the fruits aren’t lemons or oranges. If you want to try to identify this tree, please see the next image for a somewhat better view of the fruit. There is one wee fruit in the bottom-centre of this photo.
Do these fruits look familiar?