2014

One for the Birds! Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. wins a 2013 IDA Pinnacle Award for Operation: Grackle

FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, during its World Congress & 59th Annual Conference, the International Downtown Association awarded Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. (DFWI) a Pinnacle Award for Operation: Grackle.

The program dramatically reduced the number of these large blackbirds in Downtown and was recognized for innovation, effectiveness and replication in Downtown Leadership and Management.  

"So far, Operation: Grackle, which includes the Parks Department's noise makers and the Downtown Public Improvement District's use of laser patrols and professional falconers, has been replicated in major Texas cities, Arizona and Tennessee.  It works," said Andy Taft, President of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.  "Every season, new flocks come to Fort Worth and we teach them that our Downtown isn't as safe as the others they've roosted in along their migration."

Many cities wrestle with migratory and resident bird populations.  Pigeons, starlings, sparrows, cowbirds, grackles and other species find tree filled downtown and urban areas predator free.  This is an inviting environment for roosting.  "The intersection of pedestrians and thousands of birds in the branches overhead is often unpleasant," said Taft.  "We did something about it."

Turning to regulators and nature to solve the problem, DFWI worked with then Mayor Mike Moncrief and Rep. Kay Granger to support the US Fish and Wildlife Service's review of a local falconer's petition to change the rules governing the use of captive bred raptors for migratory bird depredation. The resulting rule changes allowed DFWI to hire falconers to help tackle the grackle problem and created a national falconry-based pest control industry in the process.

Local falconers trained their hawks, which usually sleep at night, to hunt and eat after midnight. The grackles, now convinced that night flying hawks live in Downtown Fort Worth, have learned that this is a risky roosting decision. Today, the falconers' hawks, combined with lasers and noisemakers, have dramatically reduced the number of grackles that come Downtown. They aren't all gone, but lower associated sidewalk cleaning costs, happier Downtown pedestrians and a more peaceful environment for shoppers, diners, office workers, residents and guests are healthy Operation: Grackle dividends.

Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to transforming Downtown into a vibrant place to live, work and play.

Contact: Ani Jarrett (817) 870-1692, Email: ani@dfwi.org

SOURCE Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.



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