You can’t deny that grackles are pretty birds, with their purplish blue iridescence and bright yellow eyes. They are the largest of our native blackbirds, about the size of a Mourning Dove or Blue Jay.
They eat just about anything, including small fish, reptiles, amphibians, and crustaceans. In the winter their diet is mostly grain, but during the summer about 30 percent of their diet is insects, including lawn and garden pests like grubs and Japanese Beetles. But they also mob our bird feeders, driving away other songbirds. They can decimate a suet block or empty a seed feeder in no time. So how to keep them out of your feeders?
Keep cracked corn and milo out of your feeders; they are favorite grackle treats. They may be less inclined to eat safflower seed, so that’s something you might try.
Avoid platform feeders and feeders with trays where the grackles can land. Instead, try a weight activated feeder, which can be set to exclude the large grackles.
Caged feeders work well, both for suet and seed. Make sure the feed is far enough from the caging so the grackles can’t reach in to nosh. Grackles don’t like to cling, so the mesh feeders and upside-down feeders may also help discourage the greedy fellows.
Wait it out! The spring and fall migration periods are when the grackles visit our backyard feeders the most. If they’re really a problem, just remove your feeders for a couple of weeks until the large flocks of migrating grackles move on.
We hope that some of these tips will help you with your grackle problems. If you’d like more information or assistance choosing the best feeder for your needs, please contact our customer service department. One of our bird experts will be happy to help you.