Travelling in large flocks, these large sized birds with appetites to match can sometimes prove to be a worthy (and unbeatable) adversary to you and your backyard birds. Often thought of as bullies, these birds are not always a top choice as visitors to our feeders, and can clean up a pile of seed very quickly when multiple birds are present.
While this problem does not really affect most of us this time of year as numbers dwindle during the cold winter months, but preparation for the spring migration and the hordes of grackles is never a bad idea.
Here are a few ways you can easily deter grackles from hanging out at your feeders, and discouraging other smaller species of birds:
It’s All About the Seed
Firstly, do your very best to keep the ground beneath your feeders clean as these are an open invitation to grackles. This being said, the type of seed you use can also play a big factor. A seed like a sunflower seed is often consumed more wholly, with not as much wastage being flicked to the ground. Safflower seed is another option, most believe it to be among the least favorite seeds among grackles but is thoroughly enjoyed by chickadees, cardinals and many other birds.
Strategically Placed Suet
Grackles can and will make short work of your newly placed suet, so be sure to think about how you will serve it if sighting grackles is not on your menu. Using a protective cage or a roof type structure to hold the suet forces birds to land on to the suet upside down and sideways, which can prove to be a difficult task for the grackle.
Remove Tray & Platform Feeders
If grackles are a real problem, removing these types of feeders might be your last resort. These large platforms allow grackles to easily land on your feeder and feast until nothing remains. Smaller feeders or feeders equipped with weight-activated perches are sure to do the trick in discouraging the grackle population.