MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Lately grackles have been spotted gathering in urban areas across the Rio Grande Valley. While this may seem frightening to some, wildlife experts assure us these birds are harmless. 

“I park anywhere in the area really and then come back to my car and there’s bird poop all over it. So that’s really annoying” said Liliana Luna, McAllen resident. 

The consistent sound of honking in parking lots on 10th and Trenton in McAllen comes from vehicles attempting to scare away the grackles. 

“They congregate during the winter months, late fall, winter, early spring months before they start to breed,” said Mark Conway, Wildlife biologist. 

These birds are known for congregating in large groups as a defense to avoid predators, such as owls. They do this in well-lit areas such as urban communities which also acts as a deterrent for predators.  

“Electrical wires are pretty safe for them because there are not as many predators in urban areas, white lights will also help to keep predators away,” said Conway. 

Many residents across the RGV witness the large groups of grackles, but Conway says this is only during the winter season.  

“March, early April, or when they start to disperse to find the places to breed. And unless usually in neighborhoods and so they’re spread all out during the breeding season.” Conway said. 

While these birds tend to create some havoc amongst motorists, Conway reassures these animals are not dangerous. 

“They’re not really going to harm you. They may take a french fry from you every once in a while, but just don’t go around them with french fries,” Conway adds. 

Residents who reside in McAllen are in awe, saying they have never seen anything like it.