Game on. Except it seemed like there was no romance to it this year. It was a lot like “Wham bam, thank you ma’am.” And from great distances too, the timid and lightweight ladies knocked off the branches they were perched on. No “Will you still love me tomorrow...and the day after that?” It was more like “Listen, Babe, we gotta get this thing done or we ain’t gonna have any kids this year....” And, “Grrrrreeeah. If you must, Sir.”
The foreshortened mating season led to a quick demand for neighborhood digs, and in one case grackles and yellow-breasted chats were vying for the same housing complex. For several days the grackles and chats attacked, chased, and bombed each other but neither could be forced into surrender, both with eggs on the way.
In the end, the grackles settled for a lower unit on the trunk of an old ash tree while the chats moved in six feet above. With young ones in the nests they now largely ignore each other, taking time to chase the other only when all of the feeding chores are done, and that seems seldom.
In a few weeks it will be time for flying lessons, and birdies will be competing for landing strips. Let’s hope they don’t have the same ones in mind or this old feud could start all over again.