Song of the Grackle

Toward evening two Boat-tailed grackles landed in a tree near the edge of Mobile Bay. The two black silhouettes first called to each other. Then, they both looked up to the darkening sky, expanded their bodies and tails, and started singing.

This continued for a minute or two, and after that they took turns singing. As one finished the other puffed up his chest, expanded his tail, and started.

Toward the end they moved and faced one another singing, and shortly afterward the concert stopped and they flew away. We watched the entire performance, which went on for over thirty minutes, speculating on the reason. The coloration we saw through our binoculars indicated two males, and at no time did we see a female approach. Were they bachelors, showing off their singing talent for females they knew to be in range and advertising their availability? Did both want that particular territory and used the songs in a competition for it? Regardless, it was a fascinating sight.

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