One Legged Grackle

Here's an unusual sight that showed up behind the store today, a one-legged common grackle (making it a tad uncommon). The bird is very plucky and kept all the red-winged blackbirds away from the food pile. Even one of the crows seemed a bird unnerved by this bird. We noticed it today by its mode of hopping as opposed the cocky looking strut a grackle normally has. I've never seen this particular grackle before today so I wonder if this bird recently acquired this injury as opposed to having hatched missing a leg. The grackle appeared healthy otherwise the whole day, not sitting low to the ground all puffed up as sick bird would. I got several photos (most blurry) of mono leg, and the eyes appear fairly bright which is a good sign of health. This is the only photo that shows part of its nictitating membrane (extra eyelid birds have to protect from dust when flying and eating) is exposed, so I think that is more the result of when the motion sensitive camera captured the image instead of a sign of illness.

Of course we still have some nasty mealworms that we're trying to get rid of at the bird store and I put another pile out hoping to have a contest of which bird species could carry the most. A female house sparrow was found with six mealworms, a female red-winged blackbird had seven and low and behold, check out mono leg here: at least nine! Which leads me to believe that this bird has a nest somewhere and has chicks ready to be fed. This kind of makes me think that the injury is fairly new since the bird would be nesting nearby for the last few weeks and I would have noticed it sooner with the way we all watch the feeders behind the store (and monitor the area with a motion sensitive camera). Also, birds that have injuries like this have a tougher time finding a mate. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how long this bird lasts behind the store and if it ends up bringing chicks to the feeder in another week or two.