08. April 2006 · Comments Off on Controlling Grackles The Natural Way · Categories: General, Science!

I don’t give much thought to grackles; as I mentioned last summer, they aren’t a big problem here:

Here in California, we thankfully experience these loud, annoying birds only occasionally. But, when they move in, they seem to displace about every other bird in the area – save for the equally aggressive seagulls, and the hawks, which likely find them rather tasty.

But then there was Sgt. Mom’s post from a couple of days ago, comparing Jackson Pollock’s trash to multi-colored grackle poop. And I just saw a short blurb on Fox News Channel about using trained hunting falcons to control “sparrows and crows” at the Kremlin:

Falconers at the Kremlin

They’ve been doing this for quite some time; check this 1987 Discover article, which focuses on bioacoustics, but also mentions their use of falcons. So I thought, “hey, they should be doing that back east.” And, indeed, they are:

FORT WORTH – Jeff Cattoor found what he was looking for after midnight Friday morning at the northern edge of downtown Fort Worth: Hundreds of grackles squawking and making their customary mess of the sidewalk from the trees around Chase Bank.

Perched on Cattoor’s right hand, Blackjack, a chestnut-colored hawk with inch and half long talons, watched silently.

Then suddenly…WOOSH.

With a startling flap of his wings, Blackjack darted into the trees, followed quickly by a cloud of grackles exploding from the branches.

Too late. Blackjack quickly has a large male grackle pinned to the sidewalk, already dead.

“Once he goes, it doesn’t take him long,” Cattoor said, walking quickly to take the dead bird before Blackjack eats him and fills up. “He knows what he’s doing.”

Cattoor and Blackjack are part of No Grackle Left Behind, the latest effort to rid downtown Fort Worth of pesky, noisy grackles.

So Sgt. Mom, perhaps you might suggest this to the SA city council? Oh, and btw, a lot of people believe hawks prey on housepets, this generally isn’t true.

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