Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. August 10, 1919. Feathered Picnickers [Grackle and Jay]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 54(45): 10-E. A bird editorial. Feathered Picnicker column repeats 19 Sep 1926.

Feathered Picnickers.

Around every picnic ground in every park there will be found, with the usual exception that is noted in all pets, a couple of the most suave and obliging birds of picnic prey in the business - the Bronzed Grackle and the Blue Jay.

These birds are large and powerful, as well as having appetites commensurate with their size. They have the brains of a burglar and would much rather secure their food for nothing than pay for it with hard work. SO they follow the camps of the picnickers.

It is no uncommon sight in our larger and more popular parks to see whole flocks of Grackles stalking or fluttering somewhat sedately about the premises waiting for a chance to clean up after the merrymakers. The Blue Jays, while not so numerous, are equally crafty and equally eager.

A Grackle can fly away with a ham sandwich as easily as you would carry it in your pocket, while the Jays are just as strong but a little more inclined to nefarious theft. They will sneak up on the victuals when nobody is looking and attempt to massacre a bunch of fried chicken already deceased.

In any park it is a common sight to see a Bronzed Grackle, sometimes known as the Crown Blackbird, flying away with what would seem to be at least half a loaf of bread, with which to feed its young.

During the winter the Blue Jay hangs around places where food is spread, such as the menagerie in Riverview park, but the Grackle takes no chances and goes south.

No picnic is complete without these camp-followers. They are useful birds, since they are out-door house-cleaners. The Grackle has no bad habits, but the Jays occasionally tear up other birds' nests and eat their eggs.