Back in Bend with three-feet of snow, and pine siskins grasping icicles before flitting to feeders, I’m cozying up to the woodstove and still dreaming of two weeks ago in Chacala, Mexico, with so much time outdoors without coats to take in the tropical birds. Great-tailed Grackles were the most common of all birds, lovers of towns, carousers and comedians, and were easy to observe by Casa de Tortuga’s infinity pool–featuring that perfect shallow end for bird bathing and drinking. So in honor of grackles and in gratitude for a creative, communal week in Mexico–I’m braving another poem and including photos I took of the grackles at the pool.

Seven great-tailed grackles fluster
at the edge of the infinity pool

One male swaggers up to another
Points his bill skyward

Gives a kih-kih-kih!
Met with a fluffed up shir..ieeek!

Brazen boys shimmer in black dress coats
Casting purple iridescence like party favors

Slender girls parade in otter brown plumage
Pluck droplets of water with dagger beaks

Eyes like yellow suns pinned with black dot pupils
Dazzle with sideways inquiry

Wet feathers flump and ruffle
Spraying a rainbow of bathing jokes

Guffaws, squawks, squeals, and whinnies
Crackle the air waves in cacophony

A show-stopper male strides along the rim
Bows and exits in a startle of flight

His keel-shaped tail flares as he sashays
Above the fishing boats of Chacala

Six grackles exchange glances
Before unleashing a torrent of flight

Carousing the clouds
Uncorking the champagne afternoon

Great-tailed Grackle scene

grackle bath

Great-tailed Grackes--2

Great-tailed Grackle female

Great-tailed Grackle bathing

Great-Tailed Grackle immersed

Great-tailed Grackle male

Great-Tailed Grackle close-green leaves

Grackles with fishing boats