Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some Birds We Saw in Texas

When we went to visit Hank and Aunt Cheryl, we saw a couple of kinds of birds that don't live in Missouri, and one of them is the Great-Tailed Grackle.  In Missouri, we just have the Common Grackle, which is not so special as the Great-Tailed Grackle, and also it has a smaller tail.

Grackles have shiny black feathers that sometimes look purplish, or at least the boy grackles do.  The girl grackles are just sort of a boring brown color.  Also they have beady yellow eyes.  Grackles like to talk and yell a lot, and some of them have nasty things to say about dogs.  I will not repeat here what some of those Texas grackles said about Gabe and me.  Mom likes the whistles that the great-tailed grackles make, which our common grackles do not make.

The stuff that grackles like to eat includes insects, tadpoles, lizards, little fish, plants, and sometimes eggs and baby birds.  Grackles make their nests in trees and shrubs, and then they lay between 1 and 5 eggs.  The range of the great-tailed grackle has been getting bigger lately.  You can find them all the way from Peru and Venezuela to Kansas and California.  Maybe they will get to Missouri someday, just like the armadillos.

Another bird we saw a lot in Texas was the White-Winged Dove.  This bird is a lot like the Mourning Dove, which we have a bunch of in Missouri, except it coos in a different way, maybe because it's not as sad as the Mourning Dove.  The White-Winged Dove is always saying "who cooks for you?"  Which is what Barred Owls say up here in Missouri, but only at night.

Anyway, these doves like to live in woods or deserts or scrubby places.  But they can also live in people's backyards.  They are expanding their range, too, so now you can find them in Oklahoma and Arkansas and Florida, instead of just in Texas and Mexico.

White-Winged Doves eat seeds and grains and fruits.  They build nests by piling some sticks on a tree branch, and then they lay 2 eggs.  Sometimes people hunt doves because they are yummy to eat.  I wish I could eat one, but we don't have any in our yard, which is a very sad state of affairs, if you ask me.

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