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Ask a Grackle

April 2024 Issue

grackle

Dear Grackle,
Why do I always see you eating out of the fast food dumpster? I see all these green spaces and native foliage, but there you are hitting that bin like it's cheat day. I get it, fast food can be delicious, but how can you look at yourself in my truck side-view mirror when you know I saw you eating chicken nuggets? That ain't right. I guess I could forgive it, but then you don't even have the decency to dunk that delicious nugget in some sweet and sour … shameful.

All kidding aside, my question is: what can I do to make a better environment for you? I have a one-third-acre lot in a lake-adjacent suburban neighborhood in Central Texas.

Also, thanks for being a good sport — my children love screaming “BIRD” at you at the top of their lungs whenever they see you.

Sincerely,
Noel Shaver

Dear Seeking,
WAIT A SECOND… ARE YOU TELLING ME THOSE DELICIOUS CRUNCHY NUGGETS I'VE BEEN EATING OUT OF DUMPSTERS ARE MADE OF OTHER BIRDS?! TO BE HONEST, GRACKLES AREN'T ABOVE EATING OTHER BIRDS, WE'RE OMNIVORES AND ALSO EAT FROGS AND MINNOWS. BUT WHEN PERFECTLY GOOD BIRD IS THROWN IN THE DUMPSTER … NOW THAT AIN'T RIGHT!

REGARDING YOUR OTHER QUESTION, WOW! IT SURE IS GOOD TO HEAR FROM SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY WANTS ME AROUND! I RUN INTO MORE TRASH THAN TREASURE AS I’M OUT FORAGING, SO THAT’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT I’D APPRECIATE YOU PASSING ALONG TO YOUR FELLOW HUMANS; I EXPECT TO FIND TRASH WHEN RUMMAGING AROUND IN BINS, BUT IT CAN BE A REAL DANGER OUT IN MY HABITAT. PLASTIC WASTE HAS BEEN SHOWN TO CAUSE STOMACH DAMAGE TO MY SEABIRD COUSINS, AND WE LOSE MANY OF OUR KIN TO ENTANGLEMENT IN PLASTIC STRING AND NETTING. SO, AS A HABITAT GENERALIST, I CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOTS OF TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTS, BUT I’D LOVE IT IF ALL OF THEM WERE JUST A LITTLE BIT SAFER.

Yours,

BIRD

Have a question for the grackle? Email us at magazine@tpwd.texas.gov and we will pass it along to our avian adviser. The grackle's opinions are its own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


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