Monday, March 3, 2014

The Beauty of the Unexpected

The Beauty of the Unexpected

I love to find joyful surprises during the day. This morning, one of them came in the form of a grackle on the feeders. The sun was shining on its feathers, bringing out the iridescence that is not always visible. It was as beautiful as it was unexpected.

Usually, grackles are not my favorite birds. They can be problematic around the normal backyard birds. They come in large flocks that scare off the smaller birds and they decimate the seeds in the feeders. I often shoo them off, watching them flutter into the trees where they wait for me to forget about them and then they return to continue feeding. And when they appear in vast numbers along their migration paths, they can pose health problems, damage crops, and create quite a mess.

In an ordinary backyard, however, there are ways to minimize their presence. Choosing feeders that discourage them is one way. A feeder with a cylinder wrapped inside a cage pretty much keeps them out. But it doesn’t mean that they won’t hang around for a while, munching on seeds thrown out by the other birds. They are also very observant, so if you don’t mind waving at them through the window several times they may eventually take off. And they do migrate so sooner or later they’ll be gone, leaving the feeders to the regulars.

Even though I often chase them away, I do appreciate these big black, yet colorful birds. They are native to North America, have a yearly presence, and shake me out of the winter doldrums with their beauty. They also remind me not to make judgments based solely on appearance, whether about birds or situations or people, because you never know when the unexpected can help you to see things differently and sometimes with joy.

If the grackles are getting piggy, try these techniques:


  1. I do enjoy watching the birds in my backyard but I know nothing about them - not their names or their habits. So I love reading your comments; you add to my knowlege and enjoyement.

    1. That is so sweet, Claire. I love sharing what I see and am glad that what I write about is interesting to others.