Monday, April 21, 2008
Apology to Grackles
I must begin by saying I love birds - really I do. I have a bird bath on my front lawn right where I can see it from the kitchen windows. I love to watch my little feathered friends come to bathe and drink. I even keep it clean for them, which, believe me, is a selfless job on those days where I have let it go for far too long.
I have a humming bird feeder, which I diligently fill with honey water (and I even boil the water before I put it in the feeder lest there be anything in it which could harm my little friends) and clean on a regular basis. I really do love birds.
With the possible exception of Grackles. They are, to my way of thinking, just totally unlovable. First of all they aren't pretty - something I could overlook because I would hate to think I only care about the outward appearance. No, it isn't their looks. It's their irritating birdy personalities.
When I looked them up, I found them listed under pests at one website. I rest my case. They seem to travel in huge numbers and prefer to congregate wherever they think they can get a free meal. Just down the street from where my parents live there is a corner where there are several fast food restaurants. I am not exaggerating when I say that every tree, electric wire, sign and light post is absolutely filled with Grackles. It looks like something out of the movie "The Birds". I confess to just sort of shrinking into myself when we stop at the traffic light on that corner.
Our Chamber of Commerce has spent untold amounts of money trying to convince these pesky pests that they shouldn't hang out at the Riverwalk because really the tourists don't appreciate having them as dining companions. They have tried everything from crazy reflector things to loud noises. All to no avail.
Speaking of noises - they make the most annoying sounds. They sound like out of control metallic toys squeaking and shreiking. Multiply that dozens of times over and you get quite a racket.
Having said all that I am now going to issue an apology for all those unkind thoughts. We have been invaded by Grackles. They don't usually live near us (thank You Lord) but they do show up for a couple of weeks every year at this time. It isn't Fast Food Restaurants or Outdoor Dining that has lured them here. It is web worms.
The little eggs those moths (I don't know their scientific name) laid last spring are now hatching and our trees are loaded with them. They spiral down out of the branches on whispy threads like spider web threads and fan out to eat every growing thing they can get into their little wormy mouths. Then they spin huge cocoons in the trees and on every available surface, and in a few weeks hatch out as moths who then lay eggs - and on and on the cycle goes.
The Grackles are absolutely feasting on web worms. The trees and ground are full of them. You can hear them through closed windows - squeaking and "shrilling" as they fly from tree to tree feasting on those little suckers. It is a wonderful thing. They are doing a great job of keeping the web worm population under control.
So I apologize to any Grackles I may have offended and issue a heart-felt thank you for the beneficial work they are doing. I should have known, Lord, that You have created everything with a purpose. I most humbly offer my thanks for Grackles.