Because they roost in massive numbers, these birds can quickly overwhelm any site where they set up their habitats, whether it is in trees or in buildings. Indeed, the grackle is a major agricultural pest as the boisterous bird causes millions of dollar in damage to cornfields annually. The buildup of the bird’s feces can compromise a building’s structure and destroy building materials. For example, the uric acid in the bird’s feces has been shown to corrode masonry, metal, and stone as well destroy a paint’s finish.
Dangerous Health Conditions
In addition, a grackle’s nest has been shown to spread histoplasmosis, a respiratory disease that can be fatal. According to the American Thoracic Association, histoplasmosis is an endemic fungal infection and is the most common of fungal infections in the U.S. It affects approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. each year.
People who come into contact with the fungus, known as Histoplasma capsulatum, suffer, as stated, from respiratory difficulty but can be also affected in other ways as well. Breathing in the fungus can also lead to illnesses associated with the adrenal glands, bone marrow, brain, joints and gastrointestinal tract.
The fungus is found in bat and bird droppings as well as soil that is moist and rich with decayed or decaying materials. The fungal infection can be acquired in abandoned structures, chicken coops, and in areas surrounded by shrubs and large trees. Also known as the Ohio River Valley Fever, histoplasmosis occurs quite often in one of the grackles’ regional habitats – Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Signs of the disease can develop quite insidiously as the symptoms surface after a few days to a couple weeks after inhalation of the fungus. Some people do not develop symptoms but, instead, form small scars on the lungs may form or develop calcium deposits in the lymph nodes of the chest.
Symptoms, when they do appear, may include chills, a dry cough or a cough that produces phlegm, muscle pain, a sharp pain in the chest, joint pain, swollen joints, and loss of appetite or headache. As a result, many people who suffer from histoplasmosis may believe they have the flu. In some instances, patients may develop painful and reddish areas on the skin, on the backside of the scalp, on the elbow or on shins. Severe cases of the infection may lead to confusion, neck stiffness, light sensitivity or severe vomiting.
Needless to say, a grackle is one bird that can be definitively classified as a pest bird. It causes destruction to buildings and plants and can be a public health risk – a risk that can lead to fatalities in some instances.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bird control, the bird is wily and smart as it can outwit most of the deterrents that are used in order to scare it off. Although the grackle is part of the same family as the blackbird, the deterrents that are used for the grackle and blackbird are usually not the same. When ordering devices, for example, that emit bird distress calls or bird predator sounds, models of the repellents are different for crows, grackles, blackbirds and geese.
Control Options Strategies
Installation of ¾” to 1” mesh bird netting
Building modification and alteration
Sounds Units (various options)
Visual Scare Devices (various options)
Tension Wire systems
Electrified track systems
Food source reduction
When controlling and getting rid of bird populations, such as grackles, you must practice a good deal of patience, if not persistence.
In addition to using devices that emit bird distress calls, it is also helpful to cut off the bird’s nesting materials or food sources when possible. Because of the chance for illness, you should contact assistance from a bird control specialist.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bird control, grackles can be a challenge, not only because of their roosting habits but because they are prolific breeders as well. In fact, the birds, which live throughout the U.S., east of the Rockies and in Canada, can nest in colonies, congregating in pairs from 30 to 100. The birds lay about four or five eggs for a single annual brood. Eggs are colored pale green to light brown with streaks and blotches colored purple and dark brown. Generally, it takes the eggs about two weeks to incubate. Baby grackles, after being hatched, begin flying in three weeks.
Control is essential, whether you spot the birds in rustic or urban locales, as the pest bird is also considered a scavenger. When they inhabit food courts and dump sites, the birds produce fecal matter that, as indicated, can become a major risk to health.