Grackles

Our Grackle Solutions

 

When it comes to bird control, this bird species is wily and smart as it can outwit most of the deterrents that are used in order to scare it off. Although the grackle is part of the same family as the blackbird, the deterrents that are used for the grackle and blackbird are usually not the same. When ordering devices, for example, that emit bird distress calls or bird predator sounds, models of the repellents are different for crows, grackles, blackbirds, and geese.

 

Based upon our inspection, we will determine exactly what bird control method will rid you of your grackle problem and implement it quickly and efficiently. We use many different methods of bird control so that we can ensure you are getting exactly the type of control you need. Select the options below if you are interested in learning more about the control methods we use.

graclke.webp
 

Control Options Strategies


Unfortunately, when it comes to bird control, grackles can be a challenge, not only because of their roosting habits but because they are prolific breeders as well. In fact, the birds, which live throughout the U.S., east of the Rockies and in Canada, can nest in colonies, congregating in pairs from 30 to 100. The birds lay about four or five eggs for a single annual brood. Eggs are colored pale green to light brown with streaks and blotches colored purple and dark brown. Generally, it takes the eggs about two weeks to incubate. Baby grackles, after being hatched, begin flying in three weeks.

 

Control is essential, whether you spot the birds in rustic or urban locales, as the pest bird is also considered a scavenger. When they inhabit food courts and dump sites, the birds produce fecal matter that, as indicated, can become a major risk to health.

 

When controlling and getting rid of bird populations, such as grackles, you must practice a good deal of patience, if not persistence.

 

In addition to using devices that emit bird distress calls, it is also helpful to cut off the bird’s nesting materials or food sources when possible. Because of the chance for illness, you should contact assistance from a bird control specialist.

We think about what you need when developing a custom plan for your grackle problem. We take several factors into consideration, inlcuding:

  • How long has the grackle problem been going on for?

  • How severe is the grackle problem?

  • Available food and water sources nearby?

  • How much will it cost to resolve the bird problem?

  • What type of damage are the birds causing?

  • Are there any liability issues due to the bird infestation? 

 

About Grackles

Grackles are a species of blackbird. Grackles are commonly found in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains. Grackles are medium-sized songbirds that range from 20 to 26 cm in length. They have long tails and thick bills.

 

They roost in massive numbers, and thus these birds can quickly overwhelm any site where they set up their habitats, whether it is in trees or in buildings.  Indeed, the grackle is a major agricultural pest as the boisterous bird causes millions of dollars in damage to cornfields annually. The buildup of the bird’s feces can compromise a

building’s structure and destroy building materials. For example, the uric acid in the bird’s feces has been shown to corrode masonry, metal, and stone as well destroy a paint’s finish.

Taxonomy

Order: 

Family:

Genus: 

Species:

Common Names: 

Passeriformes

Icteridae

Quiscalus

Q. quiscula

Common grackle,

grackle, Crow blackbird

Evolutionary Traits

Grackle Flying.webp

 

Grackles are large birds with long tails and stout bills. Male and female grackles can be identified by their differences in plumage: males have a largely glossy black body and head with a purple-tinged radiance, while the heads of female grackles range from gray to brownish with grayer wings. Grackles in both sexes have a prominent white wing patch.

Grackles in the genus Quiscalus evolved from a grackle ancestor that migrated to North America during the Pliocene (1.8–5 mya). The grackle ancestor was a small bird that gradually evolved into today's larger, more aggressive grackles.

Diet

 

Grackles are generalist feeders, consuming a variety of invertebrates, fruits, and seeds. They will mainly eat invertebrates like insects, small fish, and rodents during the breeding season. During winter, they will tend to eat grains and agriculture.

Grackles will also invade farmlands, where grackles will eat crops such as corn and wheat. At bird feeders, grackles are known for eating other birds' food. They also sometimes eat garbage.

Behavior

 

Grackles are social birds that live in large flocks. They are very territorial and will attack other grackles that come into their territory. Grackles are known for their loud grating call, which lasts about one second. This grating sound has given grackles the nickname "jackdaws of the trees."

Grackles are a widespread bird to find in city parks or suburban areas because grackles adapt well to humans and grackle populations grow near humans.

Grackles are found in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, from southern Canada to northern South America, primarily in agricultural areas. In those regions, grackles congregate in parks, agricultural fields, wetlands, marshes, shrublands, swamps, pastures, grasslands, and their edges.

Grackles are a non-migratory species, meaning they do not migrate to other parts of the world. However, grackles will move to different areas within their range, depending on the season. During the winter, grackles will move to southern states like Florida, Texas, and California, while grackles will move to the northern states during the summer.

Life Cycle

Reproduction

 

Grackles mate for life and will usually return to the same territory each year. The male grackle will start singing early in the morning to attract a mate. The grackle nests are open cups made of grass or twigs lined inside with very fine plant material. Grackles will lay 4-6 eggs in each clutch.

Nesting Behavior

 

Grackles nest together in groups of around 30 birds, but colonies can range in size of up to 400 birds. Grackles typically build their nests in trees or shrubs, but they have been known to build their nests nearly anywhere, including buildings, telephone poles, and even in cars.

Grackles typically lay 4-6 eggs incubated for about 12 to 15 days. Before fledgling, the grackles remain in the nest for another 12-16 days. Baby grackles receive insects and seeds from their parents as they grow in the nest.

Most of the time, the female grackle raises her young alone, but occasionally the male grackle helps as well. Although pairs are often monogamous, it is not uncommon for the male to find two female mates during mating season.

Nesting Material

Egg Description

ruler in centimeters
egg.webp
EggColor.webp

 

Size: 

Color: 

Incubation: 

Brood Size: 

Frequency:

 

2 - 3 centimeters

blueish white with brown

speckles

approx 12 - 15 days

4 - 6 eggs

once per year

 

Grackles use grass, leaves, twigs, and even paper to build their nests. Like other birds, grackles will often make their nest with hard twigs and leaves on the outside and line the nest with softer materials like grass and hair on the inside. They have been known, like house sparrows, to invade and destroy or build on top of other birds' nests, as a way to expend less of their own energy building the nest and to eliminate competition. 

 

A lot of fledglings waste comes out in what is called a fecal sack, secure enough that the mother bird can remove it from the nest and discard it elsewhere. One unfortunate thing about grackles, however, is that they instinctually drop the sacks over water, and if this is in a residential area, the closest body of water is often a pool.  This poses a major health risk if it goes unnoticed, therefore it is important to be aware of nesting grackles in the area. 

Untitled111.webp
grass.webp
leaves.webp

Maturity & Lifespan

 

The oldest recorded grackle lived to be 22 years old, but most do not live that long. While the average includes many grackles that do not live past their first year, their average age is 17 years old, Which is years longer than most of the other pest bird species in North America. 

Immature grackles appear more brownish and dull in color. They do not have the blueish head color that mature grackles have, nor do they appear as glossy or vibrant. Once they reach around one year old, they develop their mature coat, although males may take a bit longer than the females. 

 
 

Grackle Distribution in North America

 

The Common Grackle is the one that is most commonly seen in North America, but there are a few other grackle species that reside here, such as the Boat-tailed grackle that is found in the southern states along the east coast, and the Great-tailed grackles seen mainly in Texas and Mexico. 

 

Grackles are some of the pest bird species that are in fact native to this continent, and therefore there are many regulations and laws in place that protect it. Hiring a bird control professional ensures that you will be in compliance with all of these laws during the bird control process. 

 

Boat Tailed Grackle

Common Grackle

Great-tailed Grackle

 

Why are Grackles a Problem

 

A grackle’s nest has been shown to spread histoplasmosis, a respiratory disease that can be fatal. According to the American Thoracic Association, histoplasmosis is an endemic fungal infection and is the most common of fungal infections in the U.S. It affects approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. each year.

 

People who come into contact with the fungus, known as Histoplasma capsulatum, suffer, as stated, from respiratory difficulty but can be also affected in other ways as well. Breathing in the fungus can also lead to illnesses associated with the adrenal glands, bone marrow, brain, joints and gastrointestinal tract.

 

The fungus is found in bat and bird droppings as well as soil that is moist and rich with decayed or decaying materials. The fungal infection can be acquired in abandoned structures, chicken coops, and in areas surrounded by shrubs and large trees. Also known as the Ohio River Valley Fever, histoplasmosis occurs quite often in one of the grackles’ regional habitats – Ohio and Pennsylvania.

 

Signs of the disease can develop quite insidiously as the symptoms surface after a few days to a couple weeks after inhalation of the fungus. Some people do not develop symptoms but, instead, form small scars on the lungs may form or develop calcium deposits in the lymph nodes of the chest.

Symptoms, when they do appear, may include chills, a dry cough or a cough that produces phlegm, muscle pain, a sharp pain in the chest, joint pain, swollen joints, and loss of appetite or headache. As a result, many people who suffer from histoplasmosis may believe they have the flu. In some instances, patients may develop painful and reddish areas on the skin, on the backside of the scalp, on the elbow or on shins. Severe cases of the infection may lead to confusion, neck stiffness, light sensitivity or severe vomiting.

 

Needless to say, a grackle is one bird that can be definitively classified as a pest bird. It causes destruction to buildings and plants and can be a public health risk – a risk that can lead to fatalities in some instances.