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TARRANT COUNTY (KRLD) – Some yearly visitors have returned to Fort Worth, but this year the city is better prepared to scare off the unwelcome guests.

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Fall means migration season for many species of birds, and it also means grackles are back to hop all over outdoor tables and leave droppings everywhere. The birds seem to have little or no fear of humans.

“I think they actually thrive in metropolitan areas,” says Mike Keller, supervisor with Fort Worth’s parks department. “They seem to, anyway.”

The city has always relied on a cannon to scare the birds off. This year, that cannon is brand new and better than ever.

“In the past it would always just fire randomly,” says Keller. “We didn’t have much control over it. But with this one we’re able to fire it when we want to.”

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The new remote-controlled cannon makes a boom to scare the birds, but doesn’t shoot any projectiles. In the past the random booming would scare and annoy residents as much as the birds.

Pointing a laser beam at a grackle is another way to confuse it. And sometimes, a more extreme step is needed.

“We occasionally bring in a falconer and his trained hawks,” says Keller. “A hawk will go up there and scare the grackles off. Usually it’ll grab one and take it down, and the rest of the birds will fly for their lives.”

If the grackles are getting in your yard at home, you can make a racket using a couple 2 x 4s. Any sort of loud noise should scare them away.

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