Grackles often invade fields and parks in huge destructive flocks. They will drive out other species and “take over” an area, creating excessive noise, leave damaging and disease-carrying bird droppings in their wake. Grackles live year-round in the southeastern U.S., especially in Texas and Florida, migrating to surrounding northern areas to breed in the summer months.
Highly independent, intelligent and stubborn, grackles are about 12 inches long and weigh about 4 ounces. Common grackles roost in large communal flocks, numbering in the thousands and sometimes in the millions of birds. They eat insects, crayfish, minnows, frogs, lizards, berries, seeds, waste grain and acorns. They are commonly found near agricultural fields and feedlots, suburbs, city parks, cemeteries, pine plantations and hedgerows.
Grackles pose a major problem for property owners. They eat ripening corn as well as corn sprouts, foraging in large flocks to become a costly nuisance to growers. They pose a greater threat to cornfields than crows, causing millions of dollars in crop losses annually. They are also attracted to any food source, including garbage, which means they can carry germs and disease. Due to their alarmingly large flocks, the birds produce huge amounts of waste, corroding paint, metal and other surfaces. The weekly cleanup costs can be very extensive. Care must be exercised, even when cleaning dried grackle droppings, as the dust can still release airborne bacteria that can be inhaled and cause respiratory problems.
There are a number of humane options for deterring grackles from landing or nesting on your property. It’s important to thoroughly clean up any bird droppings or nesting materials before any deterrent products are installed (grackles are attracted to the scent of their droppings and nests). Here are a few steps you can take to get rid of grackles:
• Block them from rafters or beams with Bird Netting or Bird Slope
• Remove dead or dying trees from your property that double as grackle roosts.
Remove any food source
• Grackles are ground foragers that eat anything from seeds and fruit to invertebrates and fish.
• Grackles may be attracted to your garden, lawn area or song bird feeders as a food source. Remove feeders to limit this attraction.
• Remove leftover food on the floor and tables of open-air eateries.
• Tightly close all trash containers.
• Discourage the feeding of grackles by children or employees.
Grackles are quick and alert to any perceived threats, so scare tactics can be highly effective.
• Hang visual deterrents in trees and problem structures that attract grackles. These deterrents include the Hawk Decoy, Predator Eye Balloons, Reflective Eye Diverters or shiny reflective objects.
• Deter or disperse grackles from trees by using the Bird Chase Super Sonic, a weatherproof sound deterrent designed for large open spaces.
Humane Removal/Professional Installer
If you don’t have the time, resources or expertise to solve your grackle problem, a number of wildlife and pest control companies offer bird control as a service. These professionals can install bird control products and offer other services such as clean-up and humane trap and grackle removal.