Grackles flock by the thousands to trees around town

Grackles, a royal pain in Abilene

ABILENE, Texas - These annoying birds have set up winter roosts around south Abilene, but why do they like it there so much?

According to Kathy McGinty, Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the landscaping and trees, along with backyard bird feeders have created a "haven" for them.

Around sunset, these birds return to their nests, after a day spent searching for food and water.

And with the thousands of birds comes a big mess.

Bird waste is high in uric acid which can harm trees, erode paint from vehicles, and even deteriorate metal and concrete.

Rob Allen with the MCM Elegante hotel says cleaning up can be a full time job.

"We have a couple of groundskeepers that, that's their job 24/7--doing the grass, doing the windows, and cleaning up after the birds" says Allen.

In addition to other headaches, these birds also carry several diseases including West Nile Virus, Avian Tuberculosis, and Salmonella.

Some of these diseases can be transmitted to humans through bird feces or through an intermediate insect like mosquitoes.

Once warmer weather returns, the grackle's numbers are expected to decrease as they disburse.

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