It’s been six weeks since the first common grackles came back to Pittsburgh for the summer. (We don't have great-tailed grackles; they're a southwestern bird.)
In the beginning the flocks were made up of males who came early to work out the pecking order before the ladies arrived.
In early April the females started to trickle in. At first they were in such small numbers that the males outnumbered them and there were loud chases - three guys for every gal.
Now the balance has swung to 50-50. The ladies are here and the guys are getting down to the serious business of courtship.
I could tell how far the grackle nesting season had progressed when I saw a pair of common grackles courting in a tree near my house. The male puffed himself up and said “Skreeeeeeeek!” The female fluttered her wings and said “ee ee ee ee ee ee ee.”
It must have done the trick because they mated. More grackles will soon be in the making.