For centuries, agricultural methods have shaped our way of life. We have come such a long way in terms of agricultural development. Our technological advances have helped farmers grow food for not only themselves but thousands of families across the states. When it comes to crops, farmers tend to get overwhelmed with the number of pests they attract. The grackle bird is one of those common pests that will eat your seedlings and cause damage to your crops. Here is a little more information about the common grackle bird and steps you can take to get rid of them if their presence is unwanted.
There are many different types of grackles each sticks to a specific region of North America. The common grackle bird however can be seen throughout our continent. They are part of the blackbird group even though they are a little different compared to blackbirds, crows, and ravens. An adult male grackle is a large lanky bird. They will grow to be about the size of a ruler if not a little larger. To be more specific 11-13 inches in length and 14-18 inches in wing span. A male grackle bird will appear black from a distance but when you approach closer you can see they have a blue, purple, or green tint on their head; and a bronze tint to their body. They will have glossy feathers, a dark bill, yellowish eyes, and a long tail. When comparing a female to a male she will differ in color as well as size. Females are brown in color with no blue gloss as well as smaller in size. A younger grackle is like the female when it comes to their color; but in addition to their brown colored feathers they have a pair of dark brown eyes.
Habitat and Diet
The grackle bird can be seen flying overhead in large flocks and nesting in marshes, meadows, forests, groves, or woodland edges. They flourish in feedlots, suburban lawns, parks, and agricultural fields. When grackles are nesting they typically do so in small colonies. Colonies of 10-30 or sometimes 100 or more. They are omnivores so they enjoy their prey just as much as their vegetation. They feed on multiple different insects. Some examples are beetle grubs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, millipedes, and earth worms. They have a very diverse diet and are known to indulge in crayfish, frogs, lizards, minnows, small rodents, and even the eggs and young of other birds. The grackle bird also loves acorns, berries, and of course seeds and grain.
Are they a Pest or a Guest?
When it come to your crops I’m sure you would like to keep most of, if not all your produce. If the common grackle bird is in your area he might turn into more of a pest than a guest. They can eat most of your seeds before they even get the chance to grow. If having to kay down seeds multiple times isn’t enough they will eat your mature crops too. Are you growing corn? If so these guys are known for pulling up sprouting corn and removing the entire kernels from mature corn. If you want to take some precautions or take some steps to prevent them from damaging potential and actual crops then you have a few options. Your best bet is to make your land undesirable, you should invest in some bird netting to create a barrier these birds can’t penetrate. Another good solution is making your crops taste bad. “Bird stop” is a very inexpensive yet popular and effective solution. If all else fails invest in a bird repelling electronic device. Devices such as the “BirdXPeller Pro” are very effective against grackles. These machines produce naturally recorded predator sounds making these pests believe the area isn’t safe.
Although birds can be beautiful and peaceful to watch there are some just not worth having around. Just keep in mind no matter how annoying these pests can be never harm them. The grackle bird along with many others are protected under multiple wild life acts/laws. If the common grackle bird is getting on your last nerve be sure to try out some of these methods!