I have almost finished reviewing my 1,300+ images from our Texas trip and have loaded 350 new photos to my website. Now, there are some stories about these, I want to share.
Everywhere along the Rio Grande Valley and the Texas Coast, the Great-tailed Grackles were in their glory. The male of this species was in full breeding plumage, a blue/purple iridescence or lustrous and changing colors (definitely a kingly color). This particular male just held his ground next to the car as I approached. As a result, I captured his arrogance.
Everytime we sat down at our campsite at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, Laredo, TX, a male grackle would come to proclaim that this site was his domain. He would stand on the picnic table, fluff all his feathers and send forth his song (loud ruckus) of high pitched notes. To finish his statement, he would puff up his throat and make a long, low growl of hisses, rattles and guttural noises. Then, he would repeat the entire sequence of song and display, even though no female or other male was in sight. So, I am sure this was meant to intimidate us.
Other times we would see several males posturing as if to say "I am king of this mountain here!" or "Don't we sound like the 3 tenors!"
I think that these displays are performed to defend territory or impress a female grackle. She does not have his beautiful colors but when you see her by herself, she has nice browns.
At Galveston State Park, TX, a male grackle put on a display and song. He was only about 15 feet away from where I was sitting in my lawn chair. This time, however, his statement was meant for several females nearby and one male. The funny thing was, all the females ignored him the entire time. Maybe, they heard and saw him but these females kept right on looking for bugs. This is my interpretation of these pictures:
To another male: "I am better looking than you."
My husband and I sure enjoyed watching the Great-tailed Grackles and many times wished we had a video camera, so that we could capture their displays and songs (growls) on film to show you and, of course, to prove to you that these birds really do all these things.