We enjoy attracting all types of birds to our backyard to marvel at their beauty, magnificence and enjoy their company. But sometimes a beautiful bird like Common Grackles can dominate other birds, and take over your feeders.
These large blackbirds have huge appetites, travel in big flocks and can take over your bird feeders by eating everything they can get their beaks on.
Common Grackles are native to North America and are quite beautiful to look at. They have striking iridescent plumage and distinct calls.
Some people enjoy having grackles in their backyard bird ecosystems. Other people prefer they go elsewhere.
Whatever your preference, you need to keep these birds under control.
Keeping Grackles Under Control
Here are a few tips to stop them from taking over your feeders.
-Use feeders with small or collapsible perches
Get a feeder with a perch that closes when too much weight is on it to keep out grackles.
Another option is to get a feeder with small perches designed only for songbirds. Grackles are too large to grab hold of the perches and won’t be able to eat the seed.
But keep in mind, the birds might land onto the feeders and knock seed on the ground.
-Put a cage around your feeders
Mesh cages are a useful squirrel-proofing device but work just as well with grackles.
A flock of hungry grackles can devour suet and empty feeders in a matter of minutes, but they’re too large to get through the cage feeders designed to keep out squirrels.
Don’t worry, smaller birds will still be able to get through the compartments in the cage.
-Avoid tray and hopper feeders
Tray and hopper feeders are serving platters for grackles to feast.
If you see that flock of grackles coming into your yard, pack up your feeders temporarily until the birds move on.
-Use black oil sunflower seeds to reduce spillage
Birds can be pretty messy and dump much of the seed they don’t like on the ground. The problem is that grackles eat all the spilled seed on the ground.
Put black oil sunflower seeds into your bird feeder because birds will eat everything and won’t spill very much leaving very little for them to feast on.
-Use Safflower seeds in feeders
Grackles don’t like safflower seeds, but birds like chickadees and nuthatches do. If you don’t serve food grackles like, they will be out of your hair in no time.
–If you can’t beat them, enjoy them
This urban dwelling blackbird is quite beautiful, fun to watch and hear their unique calls: a loud and deep chuck.
You can try to enjoy them while they’re around and eventually they’ll move on.
We’re not quick to label a bird as a bully and prefer to coexist with all bird species that drop in.
We enjoy their quick visits to the feeders. It’s challenging to photograph them because they move so fast and it’s fascinating to study their behavior.
So appreciate the Common Grackle and find the good qualities in this bird.
And let’s all coexist.