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Old 04-11-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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Default What is your opinion of grackles?

Pros: they eat insects. They are smart and (sometimes) are fun to watch because they are so clever. Yet this is a "con" too.

Cons: Flocks are loud and boisterous and aggressive towards other birds. I've read they can kill smaller birds (maybe HOSPs I don't mind).

Sometimes I think if people were birds we'd be Grackles. The things that make them annoying are the same qualities we have as people...Loud, social, gregarious, clever, persistent, ingenious, etc. We have a pair that nest in our spruce tree every year. It's when they bring along the flock of other grackles that I start to wonder whether I like their presence around this place. Grackles spread throughout the US with agriculture. They are oppportunists (like us). They are annoying to farmers because they can be destructive in large numbers.

What are others' opinions of these birds?
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:05 PM   #2
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We get the Common Grackles. They're pretty in the right lighting, I always say. I don't care for them, they fight with the Robins for nesting spots, but I think the Robins do ok because we always see lots of young ones throughout the summer. I tolerate them, but when they come in their large groups and "grack" in the trees for too long, I will go out and scare them off.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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I enjoy seeing them at the feeder...although I must say I've never seen them in large numbers. I like their iridescence and their antics.

I think many birds and other animals may do things we don't approve of. For a while I started to really dislike blue jays because I know they can be aggressive and eat the eggs of other birds. They are slowly growing on me again. I think I read a while back that chipmunks will raid birdsí nests for eggs. I don't like that, but I still like chipmunks.

Predators eat other critters, but I can't hold it against them as they are only doing what they need to do to survive. As I stated here before (but you are both new ), my response to a child's "Sharks are mean." was "No, sharks are hungry."

The world doesn't run the way I'd like it to, but I love nature, even when it doesn't behave the way I may like.
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Last edited by dapjwy; 04-11-2012 at 03:37 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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I enjoy seeing them at the feeder...although I must say I've never seen them in large numbers. I like their iridescence and their antics.

I think many birds and other animals may do things we don't approve of. For a while I started to really dislike blue jays because I know they can be aggressive and eat the eggs of other birds. They are slowly growing on me again. I think I read a while back that chipmunks will raid birdsí nests for eggs. I don't like that, but I still like chipmunks.

Predators eat other critters, but I can't hold it against them as they are only doing what they need to do to survive. As I stated here before (but you are both new ), my response to a child's "Sharks are mean." was "No, sharks are hungry."

The world doesn't run the way I'd like it to, but I love nature, even when it doesn't behave the way I may like.

I agree, they are just being Grackles. Try throwing some dried out, hard tortillas out on the ground if you have a water source close by, like a bird bath. They like to toss this sort of thing into the water using a hard jerk-like sideways head toss to soften it up. Its really funny to watch.

They also do a really good job eating all the french fries and pieces of bread and stuff at the McDonalds parking lot. Trash pick up.

I think they are sort of like the poor Cow (Buffalo) Birds. Not popular and considered expendable. The problems they cause are not the fault of the birds.

Cow Birds are also hated but 1/4 of their diet is grasshoppers and they eat ticks off cows, since they don't have the buffalo herds to follow around anymore. They aren't dead beat parents either. They lay eggs in other birds nests because back in the day of the buffalo, they had to follow the herd and that was their evolved survival technique to propagate their species. They are just being themselves too.


Not all birds can be cute and sing pretty but they have their place. Let nature take its course on these birds and enjoy the diversity is my sentiment.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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I agree, they are just being Grackles. Try throwing some dried out, hard tortillas out on the ground if you have a water source close by, like a bird bath. They like to toss this sort of thing into the water using a hard jerk-like sideways head toss to soften it up. Its really funny to watch.
LOL. Maybe I'll have to try something like that some day.

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I think they are sort of like the poor Cow (Buffalo) Birds. Not popular and considered expendable. The problems they cause are not the fault of the birds.

Cow Birds are also hated but 1/4 of their diet is grasshoppers and they eat ticks off cows, since they don't have the buffalo herds to follow around anymore. They aren't dead beat parents either. They lay eggs in other birds nests because back in the day of the buffalo, they had to follow the herd and that was their evolved survival technique to propagate their species. They are just being themselves too.


Not all birds can be cute and sing pretty but they have their place. Let nature take its course on these birds and enjoy the diversity is my sentiment.
Very well put.

I didn't know about cow birds' historic relationship with the buffalo herds. Thank you for educating us.

Many members here like (or at least accept) the less cute and cuddly critters that are integral members of the ecosystem.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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I think I asked this question because my opinion of them has changed since becoming more of a wildlife gardener, and I am coming to terms with this change of opinion. I used to see them as a nuisance. Now I see them in my yard and I really watch them & their behavior, and I have come to realize that they are filling a niche among the species in my yard. I don't dislike them. In fact, the more I watch them the more I think they are a lot like us! But there have been tons of them in my yard lately, and so I've been thinking about them a lot more this spring... hence my question to all of you Thanks for humoring me!

That is fascinating about cowbirds. Thanks for giving that information, Savannah.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BeeWonderful View Post
I think I asked this question because my opinion of them has changed since becoming more of a wildlife gardener, and I am coming to terms with this change of opinion. I used to see them as a nuisance. Now I see them in my yard and I really watch them & their behavior, and I have come to realize that they are filling a niche among the species in my yard. I don't dislike them.
That is great! Thanks for sharing how your view of things is changing.

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In fact, the more I watch them the more I think they are a lot like us! But there have been tons of them in my yard lately...
Yeah, there are now tons of us as well!


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That is fascinating about cowbirds. Thanks for giving that information, Savannah.
Yes, thank you, Savannah.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:25 AM   #8
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Crackles can be so surreal when they gather at sunset in mass and settle down to roost. It is a swirling madhouse. There is an area by the river in downtown Austin TX where they gather on the telephone lines and on all the trees and they circle and take off in waves and veer around in the wind and re land on the wires. Constant motion. They are shoulder to shoulder lining the branches of trees, screaming and squawking, on the telephone poles, and street lamps , fences, anything tall for two blocks in any direction. It is like THE MOVIE. It sounds like the movie, it looks like the movie.
here , they are an urban bird. I do not see them ever 30 miles away. Same as the Eastern blue jay. They like the soft life in town.

I did start a thread on cowbirds so not to get to much off topic.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:43 AM   #9
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Not a fan, personally. They can wipe out suet cakes as fast as you put them out and they chase away the little birds. I do agree that their colors are wonderful, all speckled and iridescent, but their manners are awful!
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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I checked for more information about the grackles. They are more than a mere annoyance for farmers in large numbers. They eat corn and decimate crops. You can't blame the farmers for not liking them when their livelihood is at stake.

Yesterday I saw another redwing blackbird. I have been seeing them more and more so I googled them too. I read that here in Oklahoma they are on the increase due to the number of ponds and other water related projects. They nest in cattails.

Dapjky, maybe you might want to include some cattails in that pond project if they live in those parts. I also read that the males have quite a number of girlfriends. These pretty birds are not monogamous. Kind of like bird Casanova's. Or harems maybe? I think they look like military officers in dress uniform with insignia on their wings, no wonder the girls go wild. Gorgeous.
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