Saturday, June 01, 2013

Sectional Baseball for the Birds

From the nose bleeds. (5/30/13)
This past week the Varsity team for the high school I work for was playing in our Sectional Championship  game held at the minor league baseball stadium in our city, Frontier Field. Though there was a fair amount of excitement to be had on the field of play (and despite a valiant effort our team lost), I did briefly find myself pleasantly distracted by the birds which populate the nosebleed seats and rafters of the stadium.

Gull, clearly not afraid around high school baseball fans. (5/30/13)
In addition to the lone seagull(!) that periodically glided low over the seats, stopping in the pic above for a closer look), there were several small blackish birds also watching from the wires that hang between the horseshoe shaped roof of the stadiums main structure. I live within a few miles of the stadium and have seen plenty of similar looking birds before, though I could not identify them to 100% accuracy.

What do you think, Common Grackles?  (5/30/13)
My guess (based on my having watched these birds in my own front yard and from a quick search through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds, is that they were Common Grackles. Yes, the tail feathers seem a little short (though this I chalk up to the angle from which I snapped the pictures), and the feathers are not nearly as purple-shiny as those on the birds outside my front door, but that would be my best guess. The fact that these may have been more immature than others I'd taken notice of may also account for the duller coloring.

The size was definitely too small to be a crow, and I'm certain were they crows they would have been even more active (and obnoxious) in the empty stands eating leftovers from an earlier game. Perhaps the easiest indicator of a grackle is the unusual boobing head motion observable as they walk, but these simply sat relatively motionless, flying away and back from time-to-time.

Looks like there is always something of interest going on at the ol' ballgame... even if the festivities do not necessarily include a win.

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