"Quiscalus traveling through space sees his former self."
(Collaboration with William Hull)
This is a reworking of the Quiscalus quiscula piece from October. I can't remember what Photoshop trips I clicked on to get something that looks like a grackle in a spaceship, but it does look like a grackle in a spaceship. Bill Hull sent me a photo last winter of a Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) drinking coffee in Costa Rica; I have no doubt that eventually members of Quiscalus will travel through space and time, probably surpassing human efforts. I have that much faith in grackles. The first Great-tailed Grackle I saw was in Cozumel. It was pecking at a dog lying by the side of a road. I thought the dog was dead, but it wasn't. Some tourists riding by on mopeds woke it up.
At the November Cincinnati Bird Club meeting, there were a number of bird skins that the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History brought for an identification quiz. Bird skins can be tricky to ID, since the shapes and states of the birds are nothing like they are in life. Stuffed eyeless skins on sticks, invariably with flattened backs from spending their lives in a museum tray. But museum collections are treasures and it's a treat to look at the specimens. Last night, they had a Great-tailed Grackle collected or found dead in Texas. That's one species that's hard to confuse with anything else, whether it's stuffed or alive, pecking at a dog's back or drinking coffee.
For photos (and videos and sound recordings) of Great-tailed Grackles and other Quiscalus members, including the former self Quiscalus the space traveler is observing in the piece above, see the World Bird Guide on Bill's Mangoverde site. Click on "Passerine" then click on "Troupials and Allies." You'll get a wonderful list of birds.