Date: 10/10/17 5:13 am From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES AND THE WALL
In 1900, Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) were rare birds just barely present over the border in Texas. This is a species different than the Boat-tailed Grackles (Q. major) familiar to visitors along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Boat-tails do not occur away from the coasts. We first began seeing Great-tails in northwest Arkansas in the 1980s. Their presence in Arkansas is part of a general population expansion north and west that now reaches into Canada.*
This expansion mirrors human-caused landscape changes, including farming and urbanization. It may also be associated with a warming climate. That is, while climate change may be a subject of debate for some, rising temperature has already made more of North America suitable for Great-tails and other species, too.
Would President Trump’s wall impact Great-tails? I am reminded of his fellow Republican, President Ronald Reagan, addressing the Russians at the Berlin Wall in 1987: “There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable … General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And just imagine – he wasn’t even thinking about Great-tailed Grackles!
*Available real facts do not support the hypothesis that an Iron Curtail-like border wall (for reference, see photos of the Berlin Wall in 1989 before its demise) would have kept Q. mexicanus in its native Mexico and Central America. However, facts may not dampen wall enthusiasts, who may claim the $20 billion isn’t needed for health care, better highways and bridges, etc.