Loud. Glossy. Glaring.
Unlike the Congress Avenue Bridge bats, grackles are everywhere. They hang around food trailers and grocery store parking lots and can be seen by the thousands on power lines near shopping malls. They steal our tortilla chips on restaurant patios.
Tales abound of cheap shotguns and expensive lasers to get rid of them. And yet they always return, like the tide or Matthew McConaughey. They are as Austin as Willie, as Texan as the Alamo. And that’s why you can make the case that the grackle is Austin’s unofficial avian symbol and the Texas city bird to end all Texas city birds.
Over the next week, Austin360 is celebrating all things grackle. We talk to amateur birders who love them. We separate the grackle from the crow. We talk to musicians and ornithologists and folks who happen to be both. We look at the facts. We solicit opinions. We let you know what you need to know about the animal in Austin you probably see the most.
So enjoy the coming week on this remarkable bird, and keep this in mind: As they have learned to live with us, we would do well to learn to live with them. They are urban birds, so to wish for them to vanish is to wish for our own city to empty.