Pest Away Tips

7 Effective Ways to Deter Grackles from Bird Feeders and Nesting Areas

Grackles are commonly found in North and Central America, and are known for their distinct long legs and flat heads. They tend to have darker-colored feathers than other bird species.

However, their most defining characteristic is their ability to adapt to a wide range of habitats and diets, making them one of the most dominant bird species in urban areas. Despite their adaptability, grackles can be quite aggressive towards other bird species, making it difficult for them to coexist in backyard bird feeders.

In this article, we will cover some methods that you can use to prevent grackles from dominating your bird feeders.

Weighted Bird Feeders

One of the most effective ways to prevent grackles from dominating bird feeders is by using weighted feeders that can only support the weight of smaller birds. The Squirrel Solution 200 Bird Feeder is an excellent example of this.

It is designed with a weight-sensitive mechanism that closes off access to the birdseed when heavier birds like grackles land on it.

Adjusting Bird Feeder Design

If you don’t want to invest in a new bird feeder, you can always adjust the design of your current feeder to deter grackles. For instance, you can use shorter pegs that don’t provide a good grip for grackles.

A Garden Tube Bird Feeder with a perch surround is a good option to prevent larger birds from landing on it.

Using a Caged Bird Feeder

Caged bird feeders are a popular solution for deterring larger bird species, including grackles. These feeders come with a wire cage around the seed dispenser, which prevents larger birds from accessing the birdseed.

The PetiDream Invisible Garden Netting is another option, particularly if you’re interested in protecting your outdoor garden from larger birds.

Safflower Seeds as Bird Feed

Grackles tend to dislike safflower seeds, so using this as your primary birdseed can discourage them from feeding on your bird feeder. Also, thistle seeds can be an excellent alternative for attracting smaller bird species like finches.

Ground Feeding

Another way to prevent grackles from dominating your bird feeder is by putting the food directly on the ground. This method works better if you have smaller bird species in your yard, but it is not 100% guaranteed to prevent grackles from feeding on the ground.

Corn kernels are a good option if you want to try out this method.

Keeping Outdoor Areas Free of Debris and Trash

Grackles are intelligent animals that can quickly adapt to new environments and food sources. One way to discourage grackles from feeding in your outdoor spaces is by keeping the areas clean and free of debris and trash.

It’s essential to have a trash can with a sturdy lid to keep out unwanted animals.


Grackles are prevalent in urban areas and can be a nuisance to bird enthusiasts. However, with a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can prevent grackles from dominating your bird feeders and have smaller bird species feeding in your outdoor space.

Using weighted bird feeders, adjusting bird feeder design, using a caged bird feeder, safflower seeds as bird feed, ground feeding, and keeping outdoor areas free of debris and trash are all effective methods for deterring grackles. By employing one or more of these methods, you can ensure a peaceful coexistence between birds in your backyard.

Deterring grackles from your bird feeders is often needed to promote a healthy ecosystem in urban areas. However, there are other methods to discourage grackles that don’t involve using bird feeders.

In this article, we explore other techniques to discourage grackles in urban areas.

Pruning Trees

Grackles prefer to nest in taller trees that provide good shelter and concealment. By pruning trees down to an appropriate height, you can discourage them from nesting in your yard.

Also, keeping your trees well-maintained can discourage nesting as it has less available space for nests.

Nets to Protect Crops

Grackles are notorious for feeding on corn and fruits like blueberries. Plant netting can be useful in protecting your crops from grackles.

By covering susceptible plants with plant netting, you can avoid losing your harvest to these birds. Additionally, physical barriers like fences can discourage these birds from entering your yard.

Predator Decoys

Using faux predator decoys can be an effective way of deterring grackles. These decoys simulate the presence of actual predators, making grackles feel threatened.

The Flyonte Birds Scaring Flying Kite is also a popular option for deterring birds. Kites resemble birds of prey and, when flown, will frighten grackles away.

Changing Feeding Times

Feeding patterns can determine which bird species consume birdseed from bird feeders. Grackles are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.

Changing feeding times to late evening or early morning can prevent grackles from feeding on bird feeders as there would be fewer birds competing for the feeder during these hours.

Bird Spikes to Deter Perching

Bird spikes are a common device used to deter birds from perching on ledges, roofs, and other areas. They are blunt spikes that uncomfortably compress the birds’ chests when they try to land, discouraging them from roosting in the area.

Grackles are notorious for perching on roofs, porches, and other outdoor structures, making bird spikes a viable option for deterring them.

Benefits of Having Grackles

Though grackles can be a nuisance in bird feeders, they provide essential ecosystem services for suburban and urban areas. Grackles are ground foragers and consume insects like grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars, controlling insect populations in areas where they exist.

Furthermore, grackles are opportunistic predators and prey on small rodents, making them a great asset to gardeners trying to control rodent populations. In conclusion, controlling grackles is necessary to promote a healthy balance in the suburban and urban bird populations.

You can seal off access to bird feeders, change feeding times, use bird spikes, or even use decoys to deter grackles. Also, pruning taller trees, using plant netting, or even developing a habitat that mimics a predator can discourage nesting and feeding in your backyard or farm.

However, despite their tendency to dominate bird feeders and nesting habits, grackles provide essential ecosystem services like controlling insect and rodent populations. Therefore, it’s essential to balance avian species in an urban ecosystem to promote the betterment of natural resources and animal-friendly communities.

In conclusion, deterring grackles from dominating bird feeders and nesting areas is a common challenge among backyard bird enthusiasts and farmers. However, numerous methods can be used, including using weighted bird feeders, adjusting bird feeder design, using caged bird feeders, and changing feeding times.

Other methods include pruning trees, using nets for crop protection, applying predator decoys, and installing bird spikes to discourage perching. Beyond the challenges of grackles’ nesting and feeding behaviors, they offer numerous ecosystem benefits, including controlling insect and rodent populations.

Therefore, a balance between species and their habitats in suburban and urban areas is crucial for a thriving ecosystem. By implementing various techniques, we can coexist with grackles while promoting a healthy avian ecosystem.

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