Really National Audubon Society, are you fooling me here? 73 million strong and they are in decline? This is from a report on them statewide from 2007, yet they are still included in the top twenty common birds on decline.
As a fan of birds in general and sad for any bird in decline, I am betting this really did not disturb too many bird watchers.
After all, grackles are a menace to farm crops and other birds. It is funny, but I get a lot of views on my Grackles and Starling posts. Either a lot of folks are searching to get rid of the birds, or they are just fans of blackbirds.
Song birds are sometimes unable to raise their first broods because the grackles harass the parents and eat the eggs. The grackles kill the nestlings too, it has happened here with robin nestlings, so my guess, people want to rid them from their gardens and fields.
Honestly it is hard to find something good to say about Grackles. I can say, as they line up across the lawn pulling up grubs, I give them the high-five as the little army marches forward.
When I went to the Audubon site and saw Grackles on the list after a 61 percent drop in their numbers, I thought who is going to sniffle in the hanky? There is still an estimated 73 million of them left, but 190 million existed 40 years ago. The percentage is what has nature lovers concerned, so maybe some are shedding a tear.
Like the House Sparrow that I featured here on GWGT, the Grackle is pretty much unloved but something is eating away at their numbers. My guess is that humans are wiping them out intentionally if not inadvertently by the use of treated seed and pesticide use.
If you Google Grackles + Damage, you get a litany of reasons why they are disliked, not to mention companies willing to dispense with your Grackle problem. This is worrisome, like the sparrows, Grackles have other species resembling them that get caught up in the human persecution of the birds. You can see other birds are not fond of them either.
It may also be causing comparable declines in blackbird species that are not considered a problem, putting them at risk being far less numerous to start. Grackles form huge roosting flocks, sometimes numbering in the millions, alongside Red-winged Blackbirds and other blackbird species.
I see it a crime to interfere in thinning out and eliminating a “pest” species. The grackles feeding in these images are parents with young, and as much as they are maligned, I do not begrudge them the right to raise a family unmolested. Yes, they do on occasion cause harm to other birds, but that is nature. Humans have disconnected themselves from the interconnectivity between the entities found in nature, so if society sees grackles as a menace, society says kill them.
Companies come in and spray the birds with chemicals to strip the protective oils in the feathers causing them to die from exposure. Some net them. Also, lawn care companies cause the Grackles health problems by spraying lawns with grub control. This can kill them or prevent them from reproducing. The House Sparrow is in decline in many places around the world, and it appears so is the Common Grackle. So what does that mean for other birds? I am betting the same fate.