If we compiled a list of everyone's least favorite birds, grackles would be likely to rise to the top. These lanky, long-legged blackbirds love to make pests of themselves. Traveling in large flocks, they swoop in all at once and strut around as if they own the place, pecking for their food, chattering raucously, and bullying smaller birds around the feeders. If you've been having problems with grackles around your home or business, you've come to the right place. We have some solutions for you.
1. Finesse Your Backyard Feeders
If you're a backyard birdwatcher who's been struggling with grackles swooping in and pushing out all other bird varieties, you have several options at hand. First, consider stocking your bird feeders with safflower seeds.
Grackles don't like safflower seeds, but birds like chickadees and nuthatches do. If you don't serve food grackles like, they will be out of your hair in no time.
In addition to stocking up on seeds grackles don't like, you can adjust your backyard feeders to make them less friendly to grackles. Try these quick tips:
- • Remove any perches.
- • Avoid tray and hopper feeders.
- • Keep spillage cleaned up.
Grackles can be a nuisance, but the good news is that they tend to move on given enough time. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing what you can to discourage them from settling in. However, if they do show up, you can usually wait them out. You generally don't have to fear that they're looking to make a permanent home.
2. Establish a Perimeter Around Your Property
If you're a business owner or property manager dealing with grackles, your issues are less about them driving out other birds and more about them adding to the wide array of pests already complicating your daily life.
One way to keep out grackles (and other pesky birds) is to install bird netting. Products like our StealthNet Bird Netting are perfect solutions for keeping birds away from the following structures:
- • Buildings
- • Balconies
- • Garages
- • Barns
- • Hangars
- • Stadiums
Made from high-density polyethylene twine, StealthNet Bird Netting will last for up to a decade. Best of all, once it’s installed, it's nearly invisible! Your structure will be protected, and no one will be the wiser. (Except you, of course. You now get to scratch a few tasks off your routine to-do list.)
The mesh comes in various sizes, each specially designed to keep out different types of birds.
- • 4" mesh bird netting keeps out gulls.
- • 2" mesh pigeon netting keeps out pigeons.
- • 1-1/8" mesh net excludes starlings, grackles, blackbirds, and similarly sized birds.
- • 3/4" bird netting keeps out small birds, such as sparrows and swallows.
If you're trying specifically to keep grackles away, make sure you get the 1-1/8" mesh.
3. Protect Your Solar Panels
Recent studies from Stanford have found that there are over 1.47 million solar panels in use across the contiguous 48 states. While many of those are in commercial use, more than half of Americans (52-57%) in America's most coal-reliant states say they would be willing to buy solar panels if they could recover the investment in five years.
The more that solar panels are in use, the greater the need to keep them safely protected from harmful pests — including grackles! Every year, birds cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to solar panel units. Whether they're nesting in them, pecking at them, or merely gumming them up with droppings and debris, birds damage solar panels directly. They also attract other pests who do the same.
If you've been trying to keep grackles away from your solar panels, here are a few low-cost steps you could take:
Invest in Routine Cleanings
The more often you clean your panels, the more efficiently they run (and the more often bird nests and droppings are cleared out). The same can be said of your roof and property in general.
Set up Fake Predators
Plastic owls and hawks may not be fully effective, but they do fool prey species some of the time.
Establish an Inhospitable Environment
With a few well-placed nontoxic taste deterrents, you may be able to keep grackles far enough away from your solar panels that damage isn't even an issue.
Of course, there are always more effective methods available. Though they may require more time, energy, and money, they're much more effective in the long run and therefore work considering.
A great example of this would be our innovative Solar Panel Bird Control Kit, which does more than simply keep grackles away from your solar panels. Once installed, our system keeps all birds from getting under solar arrays while simultaneously protecting the roof, wiring, and equipment from damage.
4. Use Deterrents That Seem to Pose a Threat
One of the best ways to keep grackles away from your home or business is to convince the grackle that entering your space would somehow be dangerous. This can be accomplished in multiple ways, several of which were mentioned above (fake predators, taste deterrents, etc.).
One of the more foolproof methods, however, is to invest in multi-sensory bird repellants. They work on three levels:
- Sight: Birds perceive the dishes as dangerous because they look like fire or smoke. So they will avoid them.
- Smell: The deterrents smell like citronella and peppermint. While these smells may be pleasant to people, they’re extremely unpleasant to birds.
- Touch: The material is sticky. When any birds touch it, the experience will be unpleasant (without being harmful).
If you're trying to protect your home, you can place this repellant along your soffits, beams, skylights, or near the external components of your HVAC system. To protect your business, you can place the repellant on ledges, signs, balconies, rooftops, storage areas, or lampposts. Take some time to consider your individual property and where grackles tend to congregate, and you'll figure out the best spot in no time.
As you work to keep grackles away, remember that the point is to guard your investment in your home and property, not to make an enemy out of nature. Grackles are simply following their instincts, and anything we can do that will allow them to do so without damaging our homes and businesses is to be celebrated. To hear more about keeping grackles away, be sure to contact us!
About Bird Barrier
Bird Barrier is a leader in innovative technology designed to prevent birds from landing, roosting or nesting. We specialize in urban bird control to remove birds humanely and effectively. Our website, birdbarrier.com, hosts a wealth of content to help people understand and identify bird control solutions for various problems with pest birds. Please contact us if you need help with a bird related problem. You may also benefit from our free guide, Bird Deterrents: The Complete Guide.