While leaving the movies the other day, I noticed (what seemed like) a million grackles swarming the parking lot of the theater. In what feels like a Stephen King novel, these annoying birds can be seen, by the hundreds, pooping all over cars at the mall and other major retail areas in town.

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These birds can, literally, blackout the entire sky when they converge upon parking lots and power lines.

As shown in the video above, this is fairly common all over Texas, especially in the Abilene area.

Why Do Grackles Swarm the Mall and Other Parking Lots in Abilene?

For the most part, they do this for protection. Many of these areas have trees that they use for protection, but the wide-open spaces of a parking lot also offer them great visibility for approaching predators.

Another big reason that grackles like these spaces are because we, as humans, are pretty trashy people. Mall, fast food, and grocery store parking lots tend to offer them dining choices that we drop on the ground, giving them quick and easy meals as they keep an eye out for predators.

The artificial lighting in these places also provides more visibility so these grackles can 'hunt' at night. I mean, I've needed a flashlight to find a french fry, too.

Finally, since these birds travel in hordes, these large parking lots provide them satisfactory room for their massive flocks to roost.

How do I get rid of grackles?

The use of scare tactics, like predator recordings and hawk or owl decoys, are typically effective as grackles are on high alert for threats. However, some grackles have learned our human tricks, so it may take some trial and error to get rid of them.

There are a ton of critters that we have to share this planet with, I just wish the most annoying ones didn't have a ton of friends that poop on my car.

You may not be able to help your neighbor with their grackle problem, but you can help those in need over in Ukraine.

15 Ways You Can Help People in Ukraine Right Now

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, many wonder how they can help. Below is a list of organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine along with information on how you can support their various missions.