After taking a short walk along the beach at McCarty's Cove, Steph and I spotted a dead bird on the wet sidewalk. At first glance we thought it was a young starling, but upon closer inspection, we realized it was a grackle fledgling.
The survival rate for young birds is low. Hatchlings are fragile beings: passerines emerge from their eggs blind, naked, and helpless. At that stage, when they're still bound to the nest, baby birds are a favorite food of crows and blue jays, as well as squirrels. Fledglings, having made it that far, are at an awkward stage of development: flight feathers have not yet fully erupted, and coordination is still limited. They, too, are easy prey.
It's hard to say what happened to this young grackle. After photographing it, I moved the body off the sidewalk and left it in the shelter of the blooming, fragrant lilacs.