Hey Vallarta… You Like Bird Watching?

The Amazing Grackle

We love birds and for those who come to Puerto Vallarta with the intention of bird watching, there is a huge and entertaining variety up and down the coastline and into the jungle. Our personal favorite is the Common Grackle. They have similar manners to their northern neighbors, the crows, but have a much wider variety of vocalizations. You never know when they’re copying your ringing cell phone, a speeding car, or perhaps a crow! The grackle is a mimic and will copy whatever they fancy and often leave listeners in confusion.

People visiting Puerto Vallarta often mistake these black birds for crows, but if one takes a closer look, the similarity is evident, but they are very different birds. The North American crow is large, all black and has a big chest. They Common Grackle are more slender, very iridescent and have vivid yellow eyes. Males are bright blue around the head and upper body, while female grackles have a simple black sheen. Crows and grackles are both thieves and will steal food from other birds, out of your garbage or right off your picnic table. They are often considered pests because of their fondness for grains, and farmers carry a heavy grudge against them. They forage everywhere and can be found in bushes, shallow water, parking lots, bird baths and intruding upon the nests of other birds. They eat insects, small frogs and minnows, berries, seed, eggs and have been known to eat smaller birds and even mice. During mating, the male takes on a vampirish look, as he hunches up, unfolds his wings and lurks. They stalk and attack the unwitting female, making a lot of typical Grackle noise.

In Puerto Vallarta, the grackle is known by its Mexican name, zanate. When they were created, they were not given a sound but came into the world mute. They stole their song, according to legend, from the sea turtle. In the fable, it is said they sing the echo of the Seven Passions of Life, which are Love, Hate, Fear, Courage, Joy, Sadness and Anger. Because of their ability to mimic, the Seven Passions of life the Grackle sings of have now taken on the sound of beeping microwaves, passing taxis and tired children. That’s why we love them.

The Common Grackle in Puerto Vallarta is a smart bird and will survive long after many species have been retired, including humans, in all probability.

Que es cómo es.


 Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!


Harriet Cochran Murray, Director of Cochran Real Estate, is a seasoned Real Estate professional both here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in the United States. Harriet has served in many capacities as a board member and President for the local Real Estate Association AMPI (AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals). She is also a member of FIABCI and NAR in the United States. Harriet’s expertise and experience in the Real Estate and especially in the Mexican market makes her Viewpoint blog articles both informational and intriguing. Harriet is a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in getting the best deal on the right property for her clients.