So back to my Top Sail Island beach wanderings. I hung out with some male boat-tailed grackles for a while since they were the closest thing to crows in the neighborhood. Since they were black, rather than brownish, they must have been males. BTGs have a lot of crow-like characteristics such as being scavengers and happy to settle in developed areas to feast on garbage and stay near people to avoid natural predators. Their mating habits are quite different, however. The grackle females build nests near each other and then the males fight each other to get access to the female nesting area. Only the strongest get access to the harem; Darwin FTW. But apparently love wins out in the end, as the females sneak off to mate with the nerdy BTGs who can’t break through the cordon of dominant males.