Apparent wing-assisted incline running in a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Keywords:Wing-assisted incline running, WAIR, Common Grackle, Icteridae, trail camera, camera trap, natural history, Quiscalus quiscula, blackbird, urban wildlife
Wing-assisted incline running (WAIR) has been observed in bird taxa from multiple clades. Its wide phylogenetic distribution in modern birds suggests that it is an ancestral trait for class Aves. WAIR as a behaviour is speculated to predate the evolution of full-powered flight, and to have formed a behavioural and physiological stepping stone between terrestrial and aerial life. Here I report an observation of apparent WAIR in a Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) photographed incidentally on a trail camera deployed in an urban backyard in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. To my knowledge this is the first documented observation of apparent WAIR for the family Icteridae. Furthermore, it highlights the value of non-systematic use of trail cameras for making unique natural history observations.
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