… and grackles foraging across Nevada, exploiting urban food scraps. One of my favorite things about visiting southern climates is the summer night chatter of grackles … the cavatina that becomes the dissonant ensemble of grackle song when huge groups of the birds roost on urban plazas.

These were winter-time grackles — Great-tailed Grackles roaming the parking lots of Las Vegas in search of handouts and leftovers. I particularly love the way grackles use their large feet to hold and manipulate objects … while nearby pigeons wait for the fallout of crumbs.

When I drove out to the amazing Henderson Bird Preserve near Vegas (more in a future post), the docent apologized for the reduced bird activity during my midday visit. I told him if I saw even a grackle I’d be happy. He gave me a “suit yourself” look and then assured me that if grackles were my measure of a good visit, I’d probably be in heaven. I saw only one grackle there … this one:

Great-tailed Grackle at Henderson

Grackle at Henderson - ©ingridtaylar

The rest of these shots represent pavement foraging by enterprising birds.

Great-tailed Grackle with apple core

Grackles & Apples - ©ingridtaylar

Female Great-tailed Grackles with apple core

Female Grackles & Apples - ©ingridtaylar

Great-tailed Grackle in Nevada

Male Grackle With Nictitating Membrane Over Eye - ©ingridtaylar

Female Great-tailed Grackle

Curious Female - ©ingridtaylar

Female Great-tailed Grackle

Female Strutting - ©ingridtaylar