Frequent Flyers: Migratory birds call Fort Worth home

A cruise down University Drive can quickly feel like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960’s horror film, “The Birds,” thanks to Fort Worth’s migratory bird population.

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The black and blue iridescent feathers of the Common Grackle swarm the sky near the I-30 overpass at University Drive. They also fill the parking lots of the University Park Village shopping center and surrounding area.
This birdmageddon or birdpocalypse has caught the attention of some local businesses.
Owner of Ol’ South Pancake House, Rex Benson, said the birds are a spectacle for most people. The largest number of birds gather from about 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m..
Grackles, like all birds, have yet to learn how to use public restrooms, which means they can make quite a mess.
Benson said they have to power wash the parking lot because of the birds, and the only time any customer has had a bad experience is if a bird poops on them.
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Benson said although the birds are annoying, they don’t affect business too much.
This large blackbird is one of the most abundant bird species in North America, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
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    Although the Grackle is a migratory bird, Texas’s climate supports them year-round.
    Courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology

    All Grackle species, including the Common Grackle, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The statute implemented treaties between the U.S. and Mexico, the U.S. and Japan, and the U.S. and the Soviet Union (now Russia) for the protection of migratory birds.
    The act prohibits the killing, capturing, hunting, selling or purchase of any migratory bird or any part, nest or egg of any such bird. A violation of this act can result in a fine up to $500 or imprisonment for up to six months. So keep the slingshots and BB guns at home, and leave it to the professionals.
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    Rodney Beaman, president of Texas Bird Services, said that his company primarily uses high powered avian lasers to disrupt and abate Grackles in the area. The company uses other flock manipulation techniques such as deterrent spikes, tree fogging and propane cannons as an audio deterrent.
    Beaman said that although his experience and highly trained staff is able to effectively abate these bird populations, because of their frequent migration in fall and spring, ongoing services are needed to keep properties bird-free.
    Coordinating abatement services between multiple land owners can result in delayed or insufficient action, Beaman said. Oftentimes a given intersection may have four to six properties where the birds are a problem. The entire area needs to cooperate in the abatement process in order to get results. Subsequently, properties need to coordinate and share expenses.
    Beaman said that as of now, none of the properties on University Drive near I-30 have contacted him to hire his services.
    Looks like the Grackles are here to stay… for now.
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    To learn more about the Common Grackle or other birds visit