Nests & Eggs: Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

Member of the blackbird family that follows the plow in search of grubs and worms.

Almost everyone who lives or has traveled any place east of the Rocky Mountains has seen this bird. The chances are they call it a blackbird, for most people do. From his appearance, they are right. Since there are a number of different species of blackbirds, this one should be examined more closely. When you see him walking around your yard, you will notice he is larger than a Robin, has a wedge-shaped tail and yellow eyes. The male often shows a keel-shaped tail, when flying. The plumage is iridescent and may show green, blue or purple. Those who live along the Atlantic coast refer to these birds as Purple Grackles, a name which is becoming popular for both the eastern and western types.

Grackles gather in huge flocks and can do much damage to unharvested crops. In mixed flocks, grackles show a more even flight pattern than most blackbirds.

Other birds are not happy when grackles nest in their area for these birds are inclined to add both eggs and young of smaller birds to their diet. Credit must be given the grackle, however, for he mixes numerous insects with his diet of fruit and grain.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. II
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the purple grackle story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XL: Purple Grackle, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the purple (or common) grackle at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The purple grackle is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XVII. More Robbers.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Purple (Common) Grackle Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Purple Grackle
Bird picture for notebook.

Creaker the Purple Grackle
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the grackle.

Grackle Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

Create a website or blog at