National Geographic : 1934 Jul
BIRDS IN GLOSSY BLACK AND VIVID COLOR () National treograpnic society THEIR COATS OF MANY COLORS MAY SWIFTLY CHANGE TO DEEPEST MOURNING Iridescent greens and purples vary with the sunlight in the plumage of the grackles, and at times disappear altogether, leaving the birds a gloomy black. As if in pain, the "crow black bird," or purple grackle (upper, with mate), grates out raucous squeaks like the creaking of a rusty wheelbarrow. Sometimes it gobbles the eggs and nestlings of smaller birds. Larger and partial to marshland are the South's boat-tailed grackles (lower). The males have a way of deserting their brownish wives until the work of raising the young is over. Where the birds are abundant, their appetite for young sprouts is the farmer's despair. Here they feast on self-sown wheat.