Can grackles live on french fries and chips alone?


Grackles could probably live on french fries, pizza crust and chips, University of Texas biology professor and longtime birder Peter English says. But it’s not because they are couch potatoes.

“They aren’t lazy,” English says. “They work really hard, but they take food that’s the easiest, but so do you. Every living thing takes the easiest route.”

Grackles thrive because they take advantage of any free food that humans toss or leave exposed for them, from the pizza boxes left on top of a trash can downtown to the basket of chips left on a table at a restaurant.

The grackles’ diet, no matter how full of carbs and salt, has proven to give the current population an evolutionary edge. “The ones that didn’t eat the chips, they died or they had fewer babies,” English says. “A bird’s success is only measured in offspring.”

Grackles don’t show a desire to eat off bird feeders, though they have been known to throw nuts on a street so the cars can run over them and crack them open. When they have young babies to feed, grackles need more protein; Travis Audubon Society volunteer Judith Bailey says that’s why you might see a female grackle pick up another bird’s nestlings to feed her babies.

RELATED:
Why do grackles roost in giant groups?
Toast to the grackle with these themed drinks
Everything you need to know about grackles


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

5 things every parent should know about immunization
5 things every parent should know about immunization

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences. TheWorld Health Organization defines...
You, too, can live in Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan’s childhood home. (Strat not included.)
You, too, can live in Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan’s childhood home. (Strat not included.)

It doesn’t mean that you will be able to play “Pride and Joy” or “Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” but you, too, can live in the childhood home of Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The  1,100-square-foot, 2-1 house at 2557 Glenfield Ave. in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff is listed at $159,900. As noted by the...
Brace yourself for the Instagram posts from Austin’s first ‘immersive selfie experience’ coming in September
Brace yourself for the Instagram posts from Austin’s first ‘immersive selfie experience’ coming in September

Want to make all your Instagram followers jealous? Isn’t that what Instagram is for, anyway? Mark your calendar for an “immersive selfie experience,” visiting Austin this fall. The “FOMO Factory” lands in Austin at 702 Red River St. from Sept. 14 through Oct. 21. It’s an immersive art experience where visitors...
Fetch! Run! Hike! Sail! Swim! Raft! Jump! Paddle!
Fetch! Run! Hike! Sail! Swim! Raft! Jump! Paddle!

Outdoor adventures unfold best alongside an enthusiastic partner, including those with four feet, a wet nose and a wagging tail. When we put out a call asking for the best adventure dogs in Central Texas, we heard about pooches who love to hike, swim, sail, hunt and canoe. We’re pretty sure, in fact, that some of these dogs are living better...
A.D. Stenger home reimagined for modern family in West Lake Hills
A.D. Stenger home reimagined for modern family in West Lake Hills

Tom and Amy Brown found a charming West Lake Hills house in 2015 for the next chapter in their family’s life, but the 1961-built home needed an update. The last homeowner had lived there since 1982 and had made some changes, such as adding a wheelchair lift, enclosing a carport and adding carpet in the driveway. “It was very dated,&rdquo...
More Stories