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The Fascinating Phenomenon: Exploring Why Texas Supermarket Parking Lots Are Flocking to the Birds

The reason Texas supermarket parking lots are going to the birds

Have you ever wondered why Texas supermarket parking lots are often filled with flocks of birds, especially grackles, after dark? It turns out there’s more to it than just the birds’ love of French fries. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating reasons behind this avian phenomenon and delve into the coexistence of humans and grackles in these man-made environments.

The Historical Connection: From the Aztecs to Modern Texas

The history of human-grackle coexistence can be traced back to the Aztecs in Mexico. The Aztecs kept grackles to cultivate their feathers, and to ensure a steady supply, they allowed the birds to freely flock around the city without harm. This led to the grackles becoming comfortable in man-made environments, even as they migrated north.

Scavenging and Visibility: The lure of supermarket parking lots

Supermarket parking lots offer a perfect combination of factors that attract grackles. Aside from the occasional offer of French fries, these parking lots offer increased visibility thanks to artificial lighting. Jessica Yorzinski of Texas A&M explains that grackles benefit from the well-lit environment, which makes parking lots even more attractive to them.
In addition, parking lots provide ample space for large flocks of grackles to roost together. While there is strength in numbers, there is also a need for space. These wide open areas allow the grackles to congregate and feel safe as they forage for food. It’s a win-win situation for both the birds and the supermarket shoppers.

Texans’ Reactions: Frustration and Fascination

When it comes to the presence of grackles in Texas supermarket parking lots, Texans have mixed reactions, ranging from frustration to fascination. The sight of large flocks of grackles covering the sky can be overwhelming for some as they swarm around the area. Stories of encounters with these birds are also circulating, with some individuals sharing their experiences of being targeted by the birds as they frantically toss bags into their cars.
However, grackles are not just birds known for their defecating and flocking behavior. They have a unique ability that sets them apart from other birds – the ability to move each eye independently, much like a chameleon. This fascinating feature adds a new dimension to their behavior, and it’s no wonder that researchers are fascinated by these avian creatures.

In conclusion

The presence of grackles in Texas supermarket parking lots is the result of a long history of coexistence between humans and these birds. The combination of food waste, artificial lighting, and ample space in these parking lots creates an ideal environment for grackles to thrive. While frustrating to some and fascinating to others, there’s no denying the impact and unique behavior of these birds.
So the next time you find yourself in a Texas supermarket parking lot, take a moment to appreciate the intricate relationship between humans and grackles and marvel at the sight of these remarkable avian creatures.


Why are there so many birds in Texas supermarket parking lots?

Birds, especially grackles, are attracted to supermarket parking lots in Texas due to a combination of factors. These include the availability of food scraps, increased visibility from artificial lighting, and ample space for large flocks to roost together.

What types of birds are commonly found in Texas supermarket parking lots?

The most common birds seen in Texas supermarket parking lots are grackles. These birds have adapted to urban environments and prefer open spaces where they can forage and roost.

Why do grackles love French fries?

While it’s amusing to think of grackles as fast food enthusiasts, their love of French fries in supermarket parking lots is primarily due to the availability of this popular human snack as a food source. Grackles are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of foods.

Are the birds a problem for supermarket shoppers?

The presence of birds in Texas supermarket parking lots can sometimes be a nuisance to customers. Birds may leave droppings on cars and, on rare occasions, individuals may be attacked by birds during their visit. However, these incidents are relatively rare and usually do not cause significant problems.

Can anything be done to keep birds out of supermarket parking lots?

While it can be a challenge to completely deter birds from supermarket parking lots, there are some measures that can be taken to minimize their impact. These include the use of bird deterrents, regular cleanup of food waste, and proper waste management to reduce the availability of food sources for birds.

Are grackles harmful to the environment or to other bird species?

Grackles are not considered harmful to the environment or other bird species. They are a native species and play a role in the ecosystem. While their large flocks and scavenging behavior may seem overwhelming, they are a natural part of Texas’ urban wildlife and have adapted to coexist with humans.

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