Grackles are beautiful birds, but their aggressive behavior can drive away friendly songbirds from your backyard feeders. Follow these simple and humane tips to keep grackles from overtaking your feeders and nesting in your gutters this summer!
Grackles, aka blackbirds, are stunningly beautiful with their iridescent black plumage and quirky behavior. However, for backyard birdwatching enthusiasts, these aggressive songbirds pose a problem. Like starlings, grackles travel in large flocks and drive away timid smaller birds.
Feeding birds in your backyard is compelling to watch, but if you don’t learn to drive away these year-round bully birds, your backyard songbird oasis will transform into a grackle hangout. Check out these handy grackle deterrent ideas below!
Is it Good To Have Grackles In Your Yard?
It’s not all bad news when a flock of grackles descends on your yard. Grackles are essential in ecosystems such as pest control and food or local wildlife. They can even help control the insects chowing down on your manicured garden. They have a beautiful black iridescent plumage that is quite striking in the sunlight. However, as with anything, there can be too much of a good thing.
While most birdwatchers don’t mind the occasional grackle, these aggressive birds often drive away more petite, timid songbirds such as titmice, goldfinches, nuthatches, and sparrows. If the birds can’t learn to live in harmony, there are some inventive ways to drive grackles away from your yard humanely.
Tips To Getting Rid Of Grackles Around Birdfeeders
Don’t worry; these tips for driving away Grackles are entirely humane. Grackles are essential to local ecosystems, so you don’t want to eliminate them. You want to ask them to move along politely. Check out these tips from Grackle-proof feeders to bird repellent to keep your yard Grackle-free!
- Pick The Right Birdfeeder. Grackles are larger birds similar to a European starling or a blue jay, so a smaller birdfeeder is critical. Tube feeders with smaller feeding ports and perches are perfect for smaller songbirds and deny access to aggressive and invasive bird species.
A suitable finch feeder is an excellent solution, and you can pick one up on Amazon for an affordable price point. Keep in mind, however, that finch tube feeders are perfect for smaller birds but won’t accommodate larger songbirds such as cardinals or woodpeckers.
- Invest In A Grackle-Proof Birdfeeder. These styles of birdfeeders are slightly more expensive but worth it if Grackles are a persistent nuisance. They have a large cage around the tube feeder that allows smaller birds to access Nyjer seed mixes but keeps larger birds away. What’s great about this design is that it also keeps other pests away, such as squirrels and Starlings.
- Opt for Suet Feeders Instead. The great thing about upside-down suet feeders (aside from the insanely affordable price tag) is that grackles won’t touch them. These hanging feeders don’t have a perch for Grackles to roost, making it difficult for them to eat from the suet cake. While grackles will steer clear of suet feeders, it still attracts other birds such as finches, woodpeckers, titmice, and chickadees.
Tips to Getting Rid of Grackles from Nesting Around Your House
Grackles nesting in the gutters of the eaves of your home is troubling for homeowners. Not only do nests in gutters cause water not to drain, but it also creates a lot of droppings and poop around your home. No one wants that. While we don’t recommend removing an established nest, there are ways to prevent grackles from using your home as a nesting location or a roosting spot before nesting season.
- Use Bird Spikes. It sounds troubling, but bird spikes won’t hurt the birds in the slightest! These stainless steel spikes adhere to the edges of your roof with tape (no need to drill into your gutters!) and are rust-proof. If a bird tries to perch on your home, the spikes will prevent them from landing on your roof. It’s practical, but it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, and it takes time to install correctly. Some crafty birds succeed in nesting despite the spiels
- Use an Electronic Device. If Grackles still find a way to roost around your house, it’s time to get inventive. Electronic grackle deterrents are available on Amazon and emit calls that keep grackles away. Many devices make calls similar to their predators, such as Hawks (which will scare away all birds), so make sure you opt for one with a specific Grackle call. Distress calls of Grackles will ensure that a large flock of birds will steer clear of your yard.
- Opt for Visual Deterrents. Visual deterrents, such as a hawk kite or a scarecrow of an owl, are a quick and easy method to scare away grackles. However, remember that this method will also scare away other songbirds from your backyard. It’s more aesthetically pleasing than bird spikes but isn’t without its downsides.
- Remove Food And Water Sources. No one ever wants to take this drastic step, but if you find that grackles are doing real damage to your home, it’s time for extreme measures. By removing birdbaths and feeders, grackles are less likely to flock to your yard and will congratulate around more available food sources. Remove food and water sources during the breeding season, and replace them during the winter when the nesting season is over.
How to Get Rid Of Grackles But Keep Other Songbirds?
The right birdfeeder is your best option to draw away Grackles but keep other birds. Tube feeders with short perches or Grackle-proof cages still attract local songbirds but make it difficult for Grackles to overwhelm your birdfeeders completely. More drastic measures, such as visual deterrents, electronic devices, or removing food, are last-ditch efforts. Grackles can do some real damage to your home if you aren’t careful. Ensure you install Grackle deterrents well before the breeding season in late winter to early spring so they won’t be a problem this summer!