Friday, June 1, 2007

Those *#&$^% Grackles!

I have a bit of a problem in my backyard: Graculus aggravatus (aka gangsta birds).
Those dastardly birds and their unpleasant offspring are eating everything they can get their beaks on....even the bunnies' corn is disappearing almost as fast as I can toss those ears out.

Every morning I fill my giant Droll Yankee feeder about two-thirds with the less expensive grackle blend. This is what I've been coming home to for about the last week-and-a-half. They consume almost the entire tube. Just to give you an idea, this tube is about 4 feet high and I probably fill it to about 30 inches or so.... What pigs they are!
I think they are taking the message on the sign a bit too literally!

Can you sense the distress of this poor downy woodpecker? There was a half a cake of suet in this feeder this morning. I caught the grackles sitting on top of it yesterday, but I figured once they had eaten enough that they couldn't access it from the top anymore, maybe the woodpecker would get the rest. Ha! That's what thinking did for me! The suet was completely gone when I got home from work.

So I marched myself right out to the garage and my storage area of bird-related miscellanea. "There must be something here that I can use make this suet cage more grackle-proof," I says to myself. "Ah yes, there down on the old license plate!"

I brought it in the house and bent it in half to fit the suet cage. The license plate has these nice little holes on either side that lined up nicely with the suet cage. A couple of plastic cable ties, and voila, a grackle-proof (hopefully!) suet feeder.

As the ultimate test, I filled the suet cage with peanut suet and tomorrow I'll have to observe whether my homemade deterrent device is effective or not. At least I know the grackles won't be able to sit on top of the feeder anymore.

I have another use for old license plates -- they work very well as a patch on bluebird house roofs where the wood has cracked or part of it has broken off.


Body Soul Spirit said...

I have stopped putting out bird seed because of the squirrels and grackles. Each morning I put a handful of seed on the ground for a little chipmunk who makes a racket until I appear.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
I'm pretty frustrated right now also. My "deterrent device" isn't as effective as I had hoped. The grackles are becoming effective clingers (for as long as it takes them grab a beakful of suet).

I bet your little chipmunk is getting pretty well trained. I wish I had one or two, 'cuz they're awfully cute!

mon@rch said...

Once they find some good eattings they sure can cause problems~!

Larry said...

Clever idea-Grackles can be a pain but I enjoy watching their bullying tactics.-One Grackle plucked,killed, and ate a house sparrow in my yard once.

Mary said...

Ruthie, you are too smart. I printed out this post because you now I've been fretting over the starlings and grackles.

I stopped suet two or three weeks ago and offer safflower. They eat anything. I notice the grackles can do just about anything a woodpecker or nuthatch can do. So I put fruit out there and the mockers chase away the grackles.

I think we can't win. Loved this post, though :o)