The Great Grackle Invasion of Central Texas: What’s the Deal?
Today I learned that a group of grackles is called a plague, which seems like a fitting description. Visited a grocery store lately? You have probably been surrounded by these odd birds more than once in the last few weeks.
Everywhere you look, it seems there are giant groups of these pesky feathered creatures flying (and pooping!) all over parking lots, cars, buildings, and occasionally people.
Grackles could very well be the cause of ornithophobia, or fear of birds, in a lot of Texans! It's no wonder Alfred Hitchcock used them as a warning symbol in many of his films - and not just the one where the birds attack humans.
You Can Leave a Review About Your Grackle Experience
Most people in Central Texas will complain about grackles if you give them a chance. Grackles even have their own Yelp page, complete with a three-star rating.
With their high-pitched shrieks and offbeat appearance, they aren't the most pleasant of creatures.
Before we fly into some of the reasons why grackles seem to be everywhere in Central Texas, let's learn a few things about these peculiar birds.
What Can Grackles Do?
Honestly, grackles creep me out a bit. Maybe it's those strange googly eyes that seem to pierce your soul. They aren't just for looks, though.
Grackles are the only birds that can see two objects at the same time.
According to a recent study, it's possible these birds can look for your french fries with one eye, and get out of the way when a car is coming at the same time. They also tend not to blink while moving.
To put things in perspective, this would be similar to us having eyes in the back of our heads, a very useful but still unsettling skill.
Grackles do serve a purpose, as they eat pesky insects, but they are also considered a big nuisance because of their ability to destroy crops.
Why Are Grackles All over Texas?
One of the reasons you see so many of them in one place is because grackles like to roost. This is why you don’t see just a few together, but hundreds or even thousands sitting on power lines, in trees, and perched on vehicles.
They love to congregate in parking lots because of the lights which attract other food sources, like insects and leftovers dropped by people.
Our recent weird weather may also be causing the birds to fly in circles instead of moving south for the winter.
On the bright side, remember bird poop is actually a sign of good luck, so try not to get upset when you see grackles flying overhead!
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