San Francisco — In Houston, they tried air cannons so loud neighbors called in the SWAT team. In New Mexico, it took a half-dozen men and thousands of explosives. In Austin, technicians go out night after night with heavy-duty lasers. All to battle an 8-ounce, highly adaptive bird that´s colonizing the country — and leaving behind inch-thick layers of droppings as it goes. The great-tailed grackle, called by some the devil bird, is lovely to look at. Males are jet-black with a violet-blue iridescent sheen to their feathers that made them prized by Aztec kings
Comments: All but indistinguishable from Democrats!
Interesting article. They are a pain here in north Texas in the winter months, but they migrate farther north in the summer. The numbers of doves, blue jays, cardinals and mockingbirds have dropped noticeably since the grackles took over.
in suburban Chicago we used to have flocks of grackles land every spring, maybe around end of May. They would take over everything and eat every last seed out of the feeders. This would last maybe a week or two and then they would all disappear. We and the local songbirds were always happy to see them leave. Like the relative that show up every year, eat all your food, stay a week and move on...
Grackles were pretty common around Austin when I was a student at UT over 40 years ago. They showed up around these parts in the last ten years and are becoming pretty obnoxious. Regular caca-machines.
I guess we´ve had these around Los Angeles for years, my car got covered once with grackle-poo, it wasn´t at all funny. But they don´t seem to spread, I think there are only limited areas with the right kind of food for them, or something.
Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye, Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened the birds began to sing, Oh wasn´t that a dainty dish to set before the king? The king was in his counting house counting out his money, The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes, When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!
An old timer here in Dallas said they use to have fire trucks go down the streets in the winter where these birds and starlings use to roost and spray them with soapy water. The water would break down the oils in their feathers and they would freeze. Worked well from what he said but the the animal rights nuts got involved and they could no longer kill them but had to resort to harassing them instead.
We love birds and enjoy watching them in our back yard, seeing them come around, feeding them and watching them share the bird bath we put out for them every year. They come by as flocks of different types of birds like sparrows, blue jays, even cardinals. Then the black birds started coming around, chasing every other type of bird away... I live at the edge of town so I tried using bird shot to scare them off. The shot is too thin and you have to be pretty close to be effective with the way the tiny shot spreads out. I went to .22´s, that works well but it DOES NOT scare them away...they just look at the dead ones, walk over them and hold their ground. At first I shot a few but then the disposal problem started piling up and I was going through a lot of rounds with NO results. More just kept coming...the bird bath had to go and finally after a while they left too. Really teed me off that we could not enjoy the other beautiful birds in nature because of these pests. I guess they are not at epidemic stage yet so not much is happening to get rid of them. Surely there must be a poison to thin them out.
They are noisy too, but to my ear they produce a loud but pleasant noise. Rather happy and energetic, really. But they truly are pests. They swarm, very seldom will you see just one or two. And they are aggressive against other birds, frequently killing them when they get In the way of food.
As another poster stated, these things were all over North Texas when I was in college. They roosted in a tree on campus right across from my dorm. Everyone avoided walking under that tree and that was also right where the crosswalk was located.
Down here in San Antonio, they are still a menace. Mostly though I find them near shopping centers.
I truly detest them. I wonder if Hawks will take them out? We have quite the population of Red Tails and even Coopers down here. I saw a Cooper Hawk chase a bird through my back yard one Saturday morning. They are fast!
I hate these birds almost as much as I hate Pigeons. Grackles fly hundreds to a flock and fly quick, changing directions, swooping so low to the ground around intersections in the early evening that they almost impact with cars. I believe they also drive out our songbird population, though I´m not sure. We don´t see as many Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Robins as in the past.
Reply 21 - Posted by:
Grant Hodges, 1/7/2013 1:00:36 AM (No. 9102437)
You really need a telescopic sight to do this fellows in right. Get them anywhere - Walmart, whatever - go out in the backyard and mark off a distance about equal to the shots you might take into your trees. Sight the gun in with a small screwdriver. Only a few shots and hunting the grackles becomes more like executing the grackles.
At different times during the year, mostly in the winter months, they appear in droves in my neighborhood in FL. They settle on the power lines and tne noise and sh** is awful. I take a metal pan with a big metal spoon and bang on it and they take off and don´t return at least until the next night. After a few days, they have moved down the line to theh end of the street.
Maybe those are the birds I saw congregating on my street in east San Diego County last week. Huge numbers, flocking there for no obvious reason or source of food. A huge flock of them hung around for about two days, I thought they were crows. Then they left. I´d never seen this before.
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