January 31, 2013
By Taylor Rexrode
Birds keep out of the weather and flock together on power lines and in parking lots.
At the Central Texas Marketplace, a strip center near Highway 6 and Interstate 35, Baylor students have encountered a sea of black, rustling feathers while shopping and dining out.
Grackles, a common iridescent black bird native to North and South America, frequent areas like this strip center during winter months.
Arlington junior Ryan Blue said driving through the parking lot near Panera Bread at Central Texas Marketplace was difficult.
“There was an extremely large amount of birds,” Blue said. “They seemed to congregate in patches. Even if you drove in front of them, you couldn’t get through the lanes.”
Plano junior Alex Fernandez recently noticed the grackles while driving on Highway 6 past the strip center.
“I have noticed that there are a ton of birds that should be south of here,” Fernandez said.
Dr. Joe Yelderman, a professor in the geology department, said these birds will flock to areas where they can stay warm and safe during the night.
“As someone who observes birds a lot, they roost there in the winter because it is warm and safe at night,” Yelderman said. “They have taken advantage of the space we have created for them.”
One way of moving birds that has gained popularity within the past few years is through falconry. With falconry, hawks and other predatory birds are used to push roosting birds to another location.
Fal-Tech Inc., a state-run a bird abatement company, treats areas similar to the Central Texas Marketplace as well as other areas that attract swarms of grackles.