How Waco is Fighting Their Grackle Problem with Another Bird

The birds have gotten bad in downtown Waco, so city officials looked to the sky for a solution: a grackle-fighting hawk.

By Michael MarksDecember 26, 2016 9:30 am

This story originally aired on Sept. 7, 2016.

Waco has a problem: grackles.

In the words of the Waco Tribune, they are the “squawking, trash-scavenging, car-spattering hordes” making life miserable in parts of downtown.

But if you want to get rid of grackles, you need talons. Jeff Cattoor, the owner of Blackjack Bird Abatement in North Texas, travels the state taking care of nuisance birds with birds of his own: hawks.

Cattoor says he was a “bird and dinosaur nerd” as a kid and had read about falconry.

“It was an ancient form of hunting and a way that people put food on the table,” he says, “as far back as 4,000 years ago, and it just really appealed to me.”

What you’ll hear in this segment: 

– Why birds are better to get rid of other birds rather than mechanical means like sirens or flares

– How Cattoor relates his method of using animal instincts to a shark attack at a beach

– What times of year that grackle problems tend to be worse