Hey Bird Guy! I have a tray feeder out and I’m getting overwhelmed by Grackles. How do I get rid of these pesky birds? P.W. Ruskin


Wait a second. Let me get this straight. You bought a bird feeder to attract birds. You are attracting birds. Hooray! Now you want to stop attracting birds. Do I have it right?


In early spring many birds come to feeders in large numbers. Many folks get lots of Grackles, some get more Red-winged Blackbirds than they can count. Some people attract serious numbers of Mourning Doves. House Sparrows can dominate a feeder, too. All of these birds are in a feeding frenzy in preparation for breeding and/or migration. I understand it seems like they are hogging your seed and you want fewer of these birds and more Cardinals. Don’t worry, P. your Cardinals will get enough seed when the Grackles take a break. Cardinals just don’t feed in huge flocks like these others do. Cardinals are also non-migratory, but lots of Grackles are. We have year-long resident Grackles, but we also host many that are escaping the snow during the winter months. Rest assured by the time the breeding season is in full swing, the numbers of Grackles in the area will drop. Cardinals also are not as good about getting along with each other as Grackles are. Cardinals will defend a feeder and sometimes an entire yard from other Cardinals. Grackles play nicely with each other and don’t mind throwing huge parties at your house.


Many otherwise well-meaning folks don’t think Grackles and Red-wings are “pretty birds.” Shhhh. You wouldn’t want their moms to hear you say things like that, would you? The best suggestion I can give you is to embrace all the birds who come to your feeders. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, behold their beauty, P.


If you look closely at a Grackle, for instance, you can notice an iridescent sheen throughout their feathers. In the sunlight this can appear blue, green or even purple. Often you see a mix of all these fabulous colors at once. Their bright yellow eyes are mesmerizing. Enjoying the subtle shining colors when the sun hits them or just seeing them as big black birds is your option. Remember the point of having a bird feeder is to feed and enjoy birds.

Previous articleFree Compost, Water-Wise (Microirrigation) And Rainwater Harvesting Workshops at Extension