According to info on Cornell's All About Birds website, the population of these beautiful birds has fallen by nearly 50% since 1966. Habitat loss from coastal development is blamed for the decline.
On the other hand, Cornell reports that these grackles have adapted to living with humans by picking through our trash & by setting up shop in our relatively predator-free urban areas.
A couple other interesting tidbits gleaned from Cornell's info:
- Fledgling grackles can use their wings like paddles if they fall in the water.
- The oldest known grackle was a little over 13 years old when caught & released in 2003.
- They're generally found within 30 miles of saltwater except in Florida where they're found across the entire peninsula.
From what I read on Cornell’s website, it’d be obvious to a knowledgable birder that this fellow was on the gulf side of Florida because he has brown eyes. If he lived along the Atlantic coast of the US or other parts of the Gulf Coast, he’d have yellow eyes.
Gulf Coast of Florida, US. Photos taken of wild critters where I find them. No posing or pestering. Corrections welcome to my critter IDs. Photo taken with Nikon D750 & Nikon 300mm f4 + Nikon TC-14EIII teleconverter. Handheld.