are grackles a nuisance bird

When bird control is forgotten, some pest birds such as starlings and grackles can take over. Starlings were introduced to North America, released in Central Park, in New York City around 1890. They were released by a society that wanted to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeares works. The number of starlings now exceeds 200,000,000, all descendants of the first 60 to 100 starlings first released. Migrating flocks can have as many as 100,000 birds in the flock. Lets hope you do not already know this and they are around your property and business. Starlings will return to where they nested year after year. This is why it is a good idea not to let them start nesting in the first place. They prefer holes in buildings that could mean places such as open warehouses, signs, soffits and attics and barns. They even will go into holes that woodpeckers have carved out in the past.

Grackles, too, are found in suburbs, city parks and cemeteries. These should be places of peace, not the nuisance birds. Grackles are notorious for being boisterous. They are in the same family as the blackbird. You will know if they are roosting or nesting nearby, as they are very noisy. Grackles can cause a lot of damage. They are scavenger birds, and go around in large numbers and can be very unpleasant when they find a food court or dumpsite.

Both birds as well as many other pest birds cause damage by way of their feces. Their fecal matter creates unsanitary conditions for humans, and their droppings can also be physically damaging to structures from their uric acid. It is important to be proactive. If you are a business owner, you know the value of this. It is much more cost effective to implement bird control to keep birds away, then to pay for the clean up and repair of the structure or machinery if they were left to their own devices.

Both the grackle and common starling would be scared away if the Bird Chase Super Sonic by Bird B Gone was introduced to them. The sound device is great for large areas. There are pre-recorded distress and predator calls of actual birds that are broadcasted every few minutes. When the birds hear the distress calls, their natural instinct to flee danger causes them to fly away from the area. Do not confuse this sound bird deterrent device with ultrasonic units on the market. Birds hear at about the same level as humans. Birds will not be able to hear the ultrasonic sounds rendering the unit useless in deterring pest birds. The Bird Case Super Sonic can cover up to 5 acres of land when the extra speakers are used. They are made for outdoor use so they are water resistant and can also be programmed to use day or night or both. Night mode is activated with light sensors.

When sound might be an issue for customers, there are other ways to keep birds away. Bird netting is another solid and effective way to keep birds out. Bird netting, when installed correctly, will seal out the pest birds from a wide range of structures, venues and areas.

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Switching Sunflower to Safflower

Safflower seed is not a favorite food of grackles, but if they are really hungry, they will consume it. Therefore, I usually replace the sunflower hearts in all of the feeders—aside from the more secure cage feeders—with safflower once the grackles attempt to take over them.

The grackles won’t stay around if they can find something better elsewhere. This usually solves the yearly spring grackle issue, though it is ineffective against European starlings. This usually lasts a few weeks, after which I can return some of those feeders to sunflower seeds.

Note for 2023: Having fed birds for years, I’ve observed a shift in the “blackbird” mobs’ preference for safflower. These days they seem perfectly ready to eat safflower. Though they do seem to like it a little less than the sunflower chips I prefer to put in these specific feeders, I still swap it out for sunflower chips in my Squirrel Buster feeders. ).

Temperature & Grackles At Feeders

Being omnivores, grackles consume a wide variety of foods, such as seeds, insects, frogs, small mammals, eggs, and other birds, in addition to things that they find in human waste. But in colder climates, food can be more elusive. Insects and small animals make up up to 25% of their diet during the summer, but on chilly days, they are less likely to be active and difficult to locate. The birds need to eat, so they come to feeders.

I’ve noticed that grackles frequently decend on my feeders when the temperature drops below roughly fifty degrees. Chances increase when there is snow. They appear to spend less time at feeders as the temperature rises. Thus, some springtime days will begin chilly and grackle-filled, but end warmer and devoid of grackles.

The grackles typically migrate on once the weather warms, at least in my Maryland yard, so I don’t see them very often. This year was different. The grackles didn’t leave.

are grackles a nuisance bird

Grackles, Suet & Mealworms

This year, the grackles didn’t leave. They avoided those feeders when safflower was used instead of sunflower, but they lingered nonetheless. They instead focused on the suet and dried mealworms.

I use suet feeders that are upside-down and require their attention to use. They can’t just sit on them and eat, but they can hover beneath them for brief periods of time and flutter to get a bit at a time. While grackles are constrained in their ability to consume it all, this can still impede woodpeckers’ ability to eat.

(Update: Since then, I’ve added a suet feeder that is caged and too big for grackles to fit into.) Additionally, I’ve been experimenting with using open, upside-down suet feeders with pure suet. ).

Grackes are unable to access the mealworm feeder because it is enclosed in a cage, preventing them from simply sitting on it and devouring the mealworms. Rather, the more patient grackles scatter dried mealworms across the feeder floor while they wait for bluebirds and wrens to use it. Subsequently, the grackle approaches and perches on the edge, collecting any dispersed mealworms within its reach. Again, it can’t eat them all. However, in this instance, other birds eat first and are generally not evicted.

(Update: As a result of my modifications, there are now fewer mealworms on the feeder floor where grackles can get to them.) ).

are grackles a nuisance bird

Since several of the grackles must have established nests in the yard or close by, I believe that they stayed this year. I think the suet and mealworms were for their young. After their young had flown, they spent a day or two with them at the suet feeders. After that, the grackles seem to have left.

The grackles eventually stopped chasing the suet and perching on the mealworm feeder by the beginning of July. Over the previous week or so, I haven’t seen them very often. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ve moved on at last.

are grackles a nuisance bird


Are grackles good to have around?

The gleaming black birds actually play a beneficial role in our society. (Well, besides cleaning up those food crumbs you dropped on the sidewalk.) Grackles, which are a native species in Texas, eat insects, for one.

What is the problem with grackles?

Grackles often invade fields and parks in huge destructive flocks. They will drive out other species and “take over” an area, creating excessive noise, leave damaging and disease-carrying bird droppings in their wake.

Should I shoot grackles?

These birds are native to North America but are considered a pest bird because of the damage they cause to agricultural properties and farming crops. In the US, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, grackles are protected.

Can you get rid of grackles?

Grackle Deterrents If they are too entrenched to be scared away, exclusion using 1-1/8? StealthNet or Bird-Shock electrical track on ledges will be necessary. Grackles are too nimble for traditional mechanical ledge products. Fogging using Avian Control can also be effective in dispersing flocks.