Monday, 2 February 2015

Carib Grackles nesting at WSR

Carib Grackle @ WSR 

I have been spending lots of time at the Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge (WSR) over the last couple of weeks and it was with astonishment that I watched a Carib Grackle’s (Quiscalus lugubris) Colony grow from just one nest, late last year, to more than a dozen at the end of January.

Three of the more than one dozen Grackle's nest
Grackles are colonial breeders.  So I was surprised when the first solitary nest was built and even more surprised by where it was being built.  I am accustomed to seeing these colonies high, either in large trees or manmade structures, but this nest was being built on drying stubs low over the waters of the east pond.  

The construction of the Grackles Nest
The nests, are open at the top, cup shape, and are made of twigs, dead leaves and dry grass.

One of the flock of Shiny Cow Birds at the colony

Not all of these nests will produce Grackle chicks; no doubt some already contained Shiny Cowbird eggs.  Shiny Cowbirds are Brood parasites of Grackles, so where there is a colony, you will be sure to see Shiny Cowbirds hanging around.

Wide view of the colony

Carib Grackle over the water