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November 1st 2010    Tim Candler

    I have lived a long time believing the Common Grackle has the name of Boat Tailed Grackle.  In fact what I have called the Glossy Grackle has the name Boat Tailed Grackle, and what I have called the Boat Tailed Grackle has the name Common Grackle.  Which means I would probably have to go to Texas to see a Great Tailed Grackle.  

    Quite why it is this particular lack of precision makes me suddenly feel a little foolish and bumbling is unclear.  In other things I have grown to happily accept that scant regard for precision permits a flexibility or a vagueness that satisfies both sides of the same blanket.  Non-committal, I have insisted, is wisest of all.  So why has this error in nomenclature given me over to blushes.

     I could perhaps argue the point this way.  I could say, long ago I fell for the words “boat tail”.  Saw them as perfectly defining Grackle flight, and ever since I have been unable to separate the Grackle from his tail.  This argument would give me the chance to think in terms of loss.  The Common Grackle, certainly has a boat tail, but the Common Grackle which holds the skies around where I live is not the Boat Tailed Grackle. 

    More likely though, it has to do with features of the social that demand uniformity.  And it could be fear of appearing to bumble that puts the onus on precision.  Which suggests that actually as beings we are pretty much incapable of thinking for ourselves.  Instead we are obliged to exist in patterns or suffer the ex-communion of appearing to bumble.

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