Nature

The Greatness of the Grackle

 Can't we learn to co-exist with these beautiful birds?

You notice it as the days shorten and winter approaches, subtle at first then inescapable. Large black birds, fresh off mating season, begin to colonize the wires above shopping centers and fast-food restaurants. By mid-October, huge flocks—great-tailed grackles, common grackles, starlings, cowbirds—descend at dusk. There, they sing and caw (and poop) as they wait for darkness. These large congregations, referred to appropriately as annoyances, frustrate the humans below. Landlords have used lasers, fake hawk calls, plastic owls, falconers, and loud booming noises. The birds always win. Maybe, instead, we should learn to live with these raucous rascals. Yes, they are loud, boisterous, and opportunistic. But the great-tailed male grackle is a beautiful bird, with a violet-blue iridescent sheen to his feathers. Just don’t park your car beneath him and his pals.

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