It began slowly a week or two ago. One, two, three, four, and then more grackles began appearing in our backyard. They are a pretty bird, really, with their glossy black bodies and purplish/blue iridescent heads (for males, at least). At least that's what I thought before the grackle takeover of our bird feeders. 'There […]

It began slowly a week or two ago. One, two, three, four, and then more grackles began appearing in our backyard. They are a pretty bird, really, with their glossy black bodies and purplish/blue iridescent heads (for males, at least).
At least that's what I thought before the grackle takeover of our bird feeders.
'There must have been 50 grackles in our backyard today,' my wife commented when I arrived home from work today. 'They're a nuisance,' my hairdresser said as we discussed the birds as she cut my hair.
Here's a common scene in our backyard. Grackles perch high up in the tree on various branches and then drop, one by one, to the ground below, feeding as they march straight toward the black oil sunflower seed feeder. Then, one will fly from its tree perch to the sunflower feeder, causing the poor little finches and sparrows to scatter.
I've seen it happen many times.
Besides the consumption of black oil sunflower seeds, I can always tell when there have been a lot of grackles around during the day. The birdbath, cleaned and filled in the morning, is completely dry and covered in"you know what. The grackles, like robins, love to bathe and in such large numbers use up all the water.
The Eurasian collared doves, a slightly larger but mostly non-aggressive bird, are the only ones that I see hanging with the grackles beneath the sunflower feeder. I have even watched the grackles gang up on a poor dove and force it away from the sunflower seeds on the ground.
Sometimes, larger grackles land even land on the cylindrical, small bird feeder, which has a pest-proof component and closes if something too heavy lands on its perch. The grackles though are smart and somehow able to remove seed before the door closes.
So how can you discourage grackles from spending the day grazing at your feeders? For some good ideas, check out this link on 'Coping with grackles' from Birdwatching: https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/beginners/getting-started/coping-with-grackles/. Perhaps the best thing you can do, however, is to be patient, as the above article concludes: 'Take comfort in the fact that time is on your side: If your yard is a grackle-migration stopover, just wait. The big bullies will be gone in a few weeks.'