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Grackle Attack!
Lens: Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di Camera: K-5 IIs Photo Location: Tempe ISO: 800 Shutter Speed: 1/200s Aperture: F8 
Posted By: scratchpaddy, 05-12-2013, 05:39 PM

This morning, I was walking through the parking lot to my apartment when I saw a small bird go under a car. I bent down to look at it, since birds don't normally go under cars. It looked like a chick. As I got up, something big and black smacked me in the back of the head and flew past. It didn't hurt, but I was a little shocked. I've never actually been attacked by a bird before. A Canada Goose hissed at me once, but that's about it.

It flew back up into the tree above me and began heckling me. A smaller, brown one was hopping around from branch to branch, also yelling at me

I'm no birder, and I don't know much about birds, but I could tell that these were mates, and the chick under the car was probably theirs.

I went back into my apartment to get my camera. As soon as I came out the door, the black one immediately targeted me. He jumped over to the roof and resumed chattering at me, then flew back to the tree and began biting at twigs and leaves with his beak. It's like he was saying, "These are your fingers! These are your eyes! I will rip them out!"

He smacked me twice more as I was moving around to get pictures. I quickly learned that he would only attack if my back was turned. Several times, I stopped him mid-dive just by looking at him. It seems they won't do any frontal attacks.

Now, every time I leave the apartment, I risk getting dive-bombed by an angry grackle. They know my face. I tried to get their baby...

For some reason, the female doesn't attack me. She just follows me around, chattering and puffing herself up.

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05-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #2

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That one of the male is especially nice. So malevalent looking.
Thanks for sharing.
05-13-2013, 07:26 AM   #3
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Great story and pics to go with it. You are lucky to be alive. Those grackles probably spend their spare time watching Alfred Hitchcock.
05-13-2013, 07:46 AM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jford Quote
That one of the male is especially nice. So malevalent looking.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the input! There's something about that long beak... those wicked claws... those jet-black feathers, and the yellow eyes...

Yesterday evening, they were attacking my dog's buddy, the stray cat that lives on the stairs. I saw the female carrying around more nesting material this morning.

QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
Great story and pics to go with it. You are lucky to be alive. Those grackles probably spend their spare time watching Alfred Hitchcock.
After the attack, I Googled "grackle attack" to see if this was common. The first thing that came up was a news article from Houston where a sidewalk had to be closed due to vicious grackles. The article made several references to Hichcock's The Birds. I really liked this part:

The grackles zeroed in on a lawyer who shooed a bird away before he tripped and injured his face, Jue said. The lawyer was treated for several cuts.
I wonder if he was able to sue anybody?

05-13-2013, 08:01 AM   #5
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Very cool story....and a great picture of the perps.....I expect to see them on a wanted poster on my post office wall any day now.
05-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #6
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Great story and pictures.My hummingbirds don't do that.--charliezap
05-13-2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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They were just protecting their nests, but they are nasty birds aren't they. I would call yours 'back stabbers".

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