The grackles, that is. Every day now, beginning around 6 o’clock and increasing as the sun goes down in the western sky, hundreds and hundreds of grackles fly in and gather on the electric station towers and power lines near the intersection of US 183 and Braker Lane in my northwestern part of Austin. For those not familiar with them—a negative that leaves out just about everyone in Austin—I’ll add that these are large blackbirds, known to ornithologists as Quiscalus mexicanus. I first became aware of their conspicuous flocking to this site last November, but perhaps the birds were massing here as early as October last year, too, and I just didn’t notice. Why they settle in such large numbers on the power lines and adjacent trees and other structures as daylight fades I don’t know, but on October 16, two evenings ago, I went out with my longest lens to record the grackles’ flocking. As I mentioned on July 4, I don’t normally include human elements in my nature pictures, but this is one of those times when I make an exception, because the birds have clearly adapted themselves to the electric towers and power lines.
© 2011 Steven Schwartzman