How to Get Rid of It

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How to Get Rid of Grackles

The sweet sound of the birds feeding in your backyard is a pleasant experience for both city dwellers and country folk alike. Like every pleasant neighborhood there can be just one troublemaker that causes chaos and wreaks havoc everywhere they go. In the bird world this would hands down be the common grackle.

Grackles are birds of opportunity that prefer easy meals; however, they can be downright mischievous. Grackles are known to dig up yards, spill bird seed all over, bully other birds out of the area, and take all the good nesting spots. The best defense against these annoying birds starts with how you feed your backyard friends. Open feeding needs to be removed, including platform feeders and seeds that gather beneath the feeders. By eliminating places for grackles to land and making it more difficult for them to get to the seed. Other sources of feed that should be eliminated include bread thrown out on the ground. This not only attracts pesky grackles but other pests and rodents as well.

Increase the predators that eat grackles like hawks. Hawks eat grackles when they are plentiful along with other rodents and pests. Eliminate the nesting locations available to grackles. By trimming trees and bushes and putting netting over them you can prevent grackles from nesting and sticking around. It is possible to place motion sensor lights where grackles congregate to come on and scare them away. Another option is balloons or streamers that scare away the birds.

When setting up a backyard feeding area use tube type feeders and the proper feed that attracts the smaller and more endangered birds. These types of feed include sunflower and safflower and that contains less amounts of corn which grackles love. Get rid of the landing places by going with a feeder that cannot handle the weight of a grackle so they are unable to land there. There are feeding arms that collapse under the weight of larger birds making it impossible for them to enjoy a feast.

In the end it may take a bit of patience to get rid of this noisy and messy neighbor. Looking, though, on the bright side of things grackles can be helpful in the removal of nasty grubs that fill the lawn. They also feed on caterpillars, beetles and other bugs that could destroy your gardens. It is also good to know that they only stay for a few weeks and then are gone.


  1. I don’t know where you live, but when the Grackles came, they stayed. They stay all spring and summer and even throughout the winter. (sigh)

    May be it has been just too warm this winter. I have three persistent grackles trying to nest in our house. It’s SO annoying to have them circling the house, pecking here and there–argh!

    We’ve blocked all the holes but one–that one will be taken care of shortly. Next thing is balloons streamers and some plastic owls. we’ll see if that does any good!

  2. What bothers me most is the NOISE, even during most of the night. I thought most birds slept at night!! And, ours, too, have been here for over a month already. The light at night doesn’t seem to bother them either. Guess it’s time to try some streamers!

  3. Beth 7 Louise- have the streamers and/or owls been effective? And where did you place the streamers? We have been plagued with gracles this spring. They have taken over our backyard and are very aggressive! HELP!

  4. Here in KS they stay around spring, summer and fall. They are so nasty!! We tried the owls (even the ones that have motion sensors) and it doesn’t seem to help. I’m thinking target practice might be in order!

    • I’m with you there! I’ve used a sling shot with ice cubes when they congregate close to our deck.

      • They definitely are the nastiest (crapping all over everything, and the same with the starlings)and most awful sounding birds that comes around next to the starlings. They are the biggest pests around and dive bomb the cardinals with they are on the feeder’s enjoying the bird feed that we have out for them and not the pest birds. We use a b b gun and pump it up pretty good, I shot one last year and it flipped head over heel and walked off into a bush. Well the damn thing has a white tail feather now and is the most aggressive bird we have but when I pull the b b gun out it takes off. These birds are very smart and know they are not wanted. It seems that nothing works on permanently getting rid of them in our are. We have tried the fake owl and it worked for about 3 days and then that was it now they just thumb that beaks at it.

  5. After the grackles ate all the tiny new avocados on our tree (yes, I know avocado is supposed to be poison to birds – nobody told the grackes!) I’m going to Target to buy a high power water pistol and a selection of squishy rubber snakes.

    • We even tried the water pistol’s that you pump up and that just annoyed the grackles. I just bought an old fashioned cap gun and the grackles can’t stand that popping of the caps. I just wish the caps were like they use to be back in the 60′s and 70′s. But loud noises get rid for a bit. I was thinking about making a cd with a loud popping, snapping noise on it over and over and just letting it play outside on our deck in the old boom box and hopefully that will get rid of them. We had starlings nesting in our neighbors tree at night and those birds are really nasty and the noise all night is awful, well my husband tried everything and nothing worked until he went down to the local Walmart and bought a paintball gun (and it popped with each shot which the starlings hate noise from others from dusk until dawn) and it did the trick after about a week of shooting up in the trees each night to run the birds away from there roosting trees and ran them off to new roosting trees. So noise is the key factor for these pest birds!

  6. Since my last post, my family and I have removed 4 grackle nests from around our yard. When removing the last nest we were confronted by 15 grackles trying to stop us from removing the nest! They are such nasty birds. Since removing the nests the grackles DO NOT come into our backyard!

    • This is exactly what our family has done! They annoy me so much! I was overjoyed when they left. (They are back this summer) :(

  7. I have a grackle who’s nest is in the very top of a very tall pine tree we have. I have a 55lb dog that hates the grackle, and the feeling is mutual. I am pretty sure that he has a female hanging around with him, which leads me to believe that the nest is inhabbited. The grackle is making all sorts of “shows” around the windows in the back yard. I think this is purposeful to try to aggravate the dog. In the process it leaves droppings all over my porch. Does anyone have a good suggestion of how to get this bird out of the tree and out of our lives?

  8. I love the high powered water pistol idea. Those pesky grackles even run off or blue jays!

  9. We have a nest of grackles in the neighbor’s bushes that border our yard. They dive-bomb our dog and us each time we step out of the house. Their constant squawking is becoming quite irritating. Their newest tactic is to sit on the patio chairs (5 feet from the door) and squawk just to annoy us. We have tried loud noise and squirting them with the hose. I appreciate your suggestion, Phoebe, about physically removing the nest. I think that is our only hope. I dread putting up with the noise and attacks all summer. I’m glad to hear you had success with this. I must also say that many years back, we had a robin’s nest under our pool deck. My husband removed the nest several times, but the robins returned immediately to rebuild. They would dive-bomb us and the dog, too. We were advised by a friend to leave the nest, but to ‘handle’ it. Apparently the human scent will drive them away. It worked. The nest has been there several years, but the robins have never returned.

  10. You forgot to mention the hideous noise they make, which most accurately resembles a squeaky old gate hinge. And they sound off all day long.

  11. I hate grackles, they wiped out already 2 robins nests this year. I tried a water gun, it did not work. The noise is bad but the damage to the robins is worse. Unfortunately it is illegal to use a bb gun in the town. The nest is about 20 meters high in the tree top, thus unreachable.

  12. Could this be the birds they use in “Black Bird Pie”?? That could be a good way to get rid of them “Grackle Pie”?? Is there any other way to get rid of them?? How about one of those high powered water guns the kids have–?? Fill them with peppered water or amonia and water–pump them up and fire–they might not like that. There must be a way to move them on!

  13. I HATE grackles….I would rather have pigeons in my yard!! These Grackles do not leave, they are around in the winter, spring and summer so far. I hate them because they have killed at least 3 wrens/sparrows. I cannot get rid of these birds. I miss having the birds in my yard, but I will not watch them kill the small birds.

    • The grackles around here NEVER leave! I just abhor them & they are such a nuisance…they make so much unpleasant noise, I don’t even like to go outside because I can’t enjoy it!!!! I’ve been told they even knock other birds eggs out of nests & either take over, or let the original birds sit on their eggs. Hence, the reduction in other desirable birds…cardinals, etc. We live outside the city & bought a high powered pellet gun, but have so many big trees it’s very hard to hit them. Sorry if that seems cruel, but I think those #*$%@# birds need to be thinned out, because they seem to proliferate regardless what anybody does. Unfortunately, our trees are too tall to remove nests or put nets up, so very limited.
      Was thinking about buying the owls, but since some of you have had no luck with them, I think I’ll not waste the money. Heard that those very loud air cannons have helped in some areas, so looking at them. Probably will quit feeding our other birds, which makes me very sad & upset. Maybe the grackles are our “plague”, like the locusts in the Bible.

  14. Has anyone experienced the annoyance we assume to be nest cleaning? The fly up on our back poarch and deposit beak loads of crap. This goes on for a few weeks every year about the time eggs hatch. We figure they are hauling away waste frm their annoying screaching children. Why they target our back door as a dumping ground is a mistry. It is easy to be convinced that they do what they do just to personally drive me crazy.

  15. I’m having a problem now with a grackle nest in the tall pine tree right by my side door. I can’t go outside without them constantly making those terrible squawking noises the whole time I’m outside. I can’t even enjoy my own yard. I’m hoping once the babies are grown and leave the nest they will all leave. I certainly hope so for my sanity. But I’m so afraid thought that they might return next year to make a next in the same tree. The tree is so tall I don’t know if I can get a ladder tall enough to put netting up there or to remove the nest if they rebuild next year.

  16. We have had grackles for a few years now. They fly in and leave their poop all over our hot tub cover, patio table and chairs and on the flag stone around our pond. They are very persistant making several fly bys until we are out of sight before leaving their globs of poop. I also found a dead baby bird on the flag stone by the pond which I removed only to find another dead baby bird the next day in the same spot, very weird. Grackles are my prime suspects. We have a plastic owl which they ignore, I tried hanging aluminum plates on strings which they flew around to get to the pond. I have sat on the deck and hollered and waved to scare them away only to have them leave their messed after I have gone inside. I just strung a net I use to keep leaves out of the pond in the fall over the pond hoping it will deter them if not catch one.

    • Ontario, Canada………we too have been plagued by the Grackles….most years they go after our dogs in the backyard….but this year we have the unpleasantness of them dropping their fecal sacs etc. on the railing of our above ground pool and I’m assuming in the pool. We also found a dead baby bird.
      When we catch them in the act we run out waving our arms and yelling like maniacs…they fly away but not for long. We have no trees in our backyard so they are nesting in one of neighbours trees so we can’t get rid of the next. HELP!!!! What a mess they are making and I’m wondering if this crap that they are leaving is toxic to us and or our dogs.

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