Know a good recipe for grackle pie?

Know a good recipe for grackle pie?
Spring has sprung;

The grass has riz.

I wonder where

The flowers is?

Come to think of it � despite the lousy verse � the daffodils and tulips are up, and soon the snowbirds will be wending their way homeward from Arizona, Texas, Florida and other points south.

We're not one of them (snowbirds, that is) because we came home to South Dakota to experience the four seasons once again: snow, construction, construction, snow!

Other birds have showed up in our backyard, by the way. We found out they were Common Grackles, so I rushed to my trusty bird book to learn more about them.

They are Jay-sized creatures who appear all black at a distance, but on closer observation they are actually quite iridescent. Our grackles are purple and greenish around their necks.

I learned that they arrive early in spring, and they like lawns, which is why we have so many of them. They eat just about anything, including other bird's eggs, baby nestlings, insects and all kinds of fruit and grain.

They are especially partial to cracked corn. No wonder our feeders are always empty!

At first they are all together, but then they pair up. However, I've noticed a third bird with some duos, which is an indication to me that momma and poppa birds are not evenly divided. I've not figured out which one is the female � but the grackles know, and that's as it should be.

The result of their trysting is five pale blue eggs with black markings in their bulky stick nest. Incidentally, their song is a series of clucks and a screech like a rusty hinge. They'd never make it in a musical competition.

Phyllis doesn't like them at all because she thinks they drive her favorite finches away. She wants me to get rid of them, but I don't know how. Maybe an old nursery rhyme holds a clue:

Sing a song of sixpence,

A pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty


Baked in a pie.

I like pumpkin pie, but cooked blackbirds ? Yuck!

I'd probably have to kill them and pluck the feathers, too. Anyway, I hope she doesn't opt for that way to get rid of the grackles. They say there aren't many calories in blackbirds, but I don't care.

Speaking of calories, I suppose we'll have to celebrate when the snowbirds come back, and that means a few added pounds. But then I'll lose them catching those darn grackles. At least we don't have to eat those snowbirds.

I guess I'll just chalk it up to springtime in South Dakota. That's when everything turns green; the trees get new leaves � and we are enveloped with birds � the feathered kind and the people kind.

I like spring. It's a delightful season. But I wish that the grackles would just go away.

� 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz

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