How do I get rid of grackles?
How does a city get rid of grackles?
Is it legal to shoot grackles?
Not in the United States, unless you are approved for depredation permits.
Wait, what's the actual underlying question here?
Why are grackles even a problem to begin with?
Abilene, Waco, Houston, Austin, this post is for you. Cities with "too many grackles" in general - this post is for you.
Back on Oct. 9, this column by Gary Clark showed up in the Houston Chronicle. Yesterday's HouChron gem of blog wisdom was more of a cry for help. Tis a response, of course, to yesterday's snippet of "Trained falcon fails to rid downtown Houston of grackles." Ya think? There is no miracle cure, folks.
Shall we look at what makes grackles a problem?
Power line roosts (along streets, near parking lots)
Parking lot trees (leading to car-poop)
Basically, human-induced perching options along human infrastructures leads to human inconvenience (health threat potential as well as aesthetic nuisance) about human personal transportation options. Wait, wait. Mass transit doesn't sit around all day getting pooped on. Carpool and only one person's car gets pooped on. Cut back on the number of power lines and you cut down the available perching space. Those little trees in the parking lots? Pretty feeble human attempts to appease the sun baked parking lot curse.
The overlying theme? Humans. You can blame Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) for a lot of things, but it ultimately all boils down to homo sapiens. Take the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), for example. You wipe out the bison, you fence in the prairies, you disrupt a pattern of natural rhythms... and then suddenly Brown-headed Cowbirds become an overwhelming pressure on certain other songbirds - a pressure that didn't exist when their overall patterns mirrored the bison.
Right, so we were discussing the grackles. Grackles will follow in the footsteps of humans as long as we keep creating awesome habitat for them. Only when we modify our surroundings will it impact them. Older neighborhoods in Houston that are packed with huge oaks and diversely landscaped properties don't have the grackle problem. Yet a block away, the strip malls are laden with epic proportions of feathered scapegoats. Think about it. Plan for a different impact. "Open" urban plan designs that call for mowed grass or parking lots with scarce vegetation may not be the answer for everything. Nature had a pretty nice landscape worked out before we went and urbanized it - grackles had a nice niche in the world as well, before we vilified them.
Now, go forth and admire the super adaptable creatures who have exploited human-made loopholes. After all, we're an awful lot like them.