Having just one or two grackles helping themselves to your bird feeder is not a problem. They are somewhat beautiful birds after all. The problem is the fact that they are not solitary birds. They come in huge flocks. And when they find out that you are giving away free food, they will swarm into your yard and push out other birds from gaining access to the feeder.
You need to know how to keep grackles away from bird feeders or else they will take over your entire yard. You don’t want to wake up to the sounds of a hundred grackles every morning, believe me.
To help you keep these intrusive birds out of your yard, here are some tips.
Method 01: Start Using Feeders That Grackles Cannot Use
One solution how to deter grackles from bird feeders is to use the ones that they could not, or at least have lots of difficulties using.
What to prepare:
- Grackle-proof bird feeder
- A fresh supply of birdseed
Step 1: Choose your new bird feeder. The problem with regular bird feeders is that they let all birds partake of the contents. If one grackle finds out that you are giving away free food, it will bring its entire flock to your yard. To prevent this, here are a couple of feeders that you should try:
- Caged feeder – This is a feeder that has a cage built around the feed container. The openings in the cage are only big enough for small birds to get through, but birds the size of grackles won’t. Even their heads would barely fit through the mesh. This means that they can see the food but they will not be able to reach it.
- Upside-down feeder – These feeders are exclusively for acrobatic feeding birds. These feeders require the bird to hang upside-down to gain access to the food, which grackles are too big to do. This means that only smaller birds like finches can feed from this.
- Weight-controlled feeder – These feeders have a mechanism that closes the feeding ports when a bird that is too heavy perches on it. So, when a grackle perches on the feeder, it will automatically close. However, when a small bird, like a finch or a downy woodpecker, would use it, the hopper will not close.
Step 2: Install the new bird feeder. Empty the old bird feeder and install the new bird feeder in its place. The grackles would still be going into your yard for a bit, but once they notice that they could no longer get to the food, they would get discouraged and go somewhere else to find their food.
Method 02: Start Using Food That Grackles Don’t Like
Another way to discourage grackles from flocking to your bird feeder is to fill it with a bird seed that grackles won’t eat.
What to prepare:
- Birdseed that grackles don’t like
Step 1: Choose the right birdseed for your feeder. Changing the contents is one effective way to force grackles away from your bird feeder. Here are some of your best options:
- Safflower seeds – Grackles, starlings, and other species of blackbirds do not particularly like safflower seeds. They might let their curiosity get the best of them and try these seeds a bit but they will not be eating their fill for sure. In addition, squirrels and other rodents do not like safflower seeds, so it is another win.
- Nyjer seeds – These seeds are quite small and hard to open for birds larger than finches, which is why grackles do not care for them that much. It is too much work for a grackle to open one small Nyjer seed. In addition, bird feeders that use Nyjer seeds have very small openings that are much too small for grackles’ beaks.
Step 2: Refill the feeder with the new seeds. Once you’ve chosen the new birdseed mix for your bird feeder, empty the old contents and refill it with a fresh batch. The grackles will still come to your feeder for a while, but once they figure out that they do not like the contents, they will stop visiting.
Method 03: Not Refilling the Feeder as Often
Step 1: Allow the feeder to completely empty. Grackles are voracious feeders, and they can empty a bird feeder in just a day or two. So, when grackles come to partake with your birdseed, just let them.
Step 2: Don’t refill the feeder until at least 3 days later. Once the feeder is empty, the grackles will stop coming. If you refill it immediately after it’s emptied, the grackles will surely come back, and most likely, they will bring more of their friends.
However, if you do not refill it until after three days or so, the grackles will lose interest in your property and move on to someplace else.
Do Grackle-Repellents Work?
You can find a lot of products that claim to be effective, and most of them are. You can try using liquid bird repellent, scarecrows, hanging reflective objects around your garden, and more. Many brands of these kinds of products work quite well, but the problem is that they usually work too well.
Bird repellents do not just chase away grackles and other blackbirds but all kinds of birds. This means you will not be seeing other kinds of birds as well. Even if you put food in your feeder, if the repellents are doing their job, most birds will not be coming close to it.
A grackle is not so bad, but the problem is that this bird never travels alone. If you find one grackle, there are more than a dozen other birds with it. It is important that you know how to keep grackles away from bird feeders because they can eat through pounds of birdseed in a week.
Hopefully, the methods mentioned above will work in solving your grackle problem. If your chosen method is successful, you do not need to see a single grackle ever again.