Friday Follies: “an airborne symphony,” 1979

That’s the unexpected (and thoroughly unwarranted) romantic sounding description that accompanied this November, 1979 Houston Chronicle photo of a helicopter trying to roust some of the grackles that were infesting campus:

I don’t think it was quite so romantic if you had to live with them on a daily basis.


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5 Responses to Friday Follies: “an airborne symphony,” 1979

  1. Brian Cole (Wiess '78) says:

    The answer to your implicit question may depend on whether you intend to use the term “romantic” in a non-ironic way.
    I remember deploying an umbrella under the trees–when it was not otherwise raining–to protect against the “presents” from the grackles. Do you consider that romantic?

  2. A friend loved to go barefoot, everywhere on campus, in all weather. But he wore his shoes during bird season. It was pretty bad and pretty stinky during the years I lived on campus (1976-1979).

  3. David Scott says:

    The more interesting helicopter escapade was an attempt to drape a huge net over those trees by Chem Lec and perhaps by Hackerman’s swimming pool. But the net was blown by the downdraft and would never get in place. An Assist Prof in Biology tried to study the birds, having students place cardboard on the ground to count droppings. Didn’t get tenure as I recall.

  4. Richard Miller, BA 1975, MEE 1976 says:

    The Hackerman story actually reached the point of being an urban legend. Story goes that she was able to have B&G rig a net over her pool (or garden depending on the teller). According to the story nobody remembered that birds can walk so they ended up trapping a bunch of very unhappy birds under the net where they stayed until the nets were removed.

    Dr. Johnson was the biologist and IIRC he finally found that we could convince the flock to go elsewhere by trimming the junk out of the trees. The Grackles prefer togetherness so if the small branches are trimmed they cannot find the close neighbor they prefer. I think they moved over to West U

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