Common Grackles are a dark bird with yellow eyes. While females are solid black, males have highly iridescent bronze bodies, with heads an iridescent blue.
Grackles are common urban birds that are easy to find foraging on the ground, though they roost in trees during the evening. They are bullies and will chase other birds away from feeders and around other food sources. They may also steal food from picnickers. Grackles are flocking blackbirds and are usually seen in the company of other grackles and blackbird species, even during spring.
While grackles are primarily seed eaters, they will eat small animals they can catch in the summer, including insects, baby birds, frogs, fish, and mice.
Grackles prefer edge habitat and open grasslands with some trees for roosting and are very adapted to human environments.
While grackles prefer to nest in conifers, they may nest in other trees if conifers are not available. Females build a fairly large mud and stick cup to lay their eggs in. Grackles may nest in flocks with little territorial behavior between pairs.
Grackles are resident birds in our area, only migrating short distances to find food and water. They typically do not go far from their nesting areas year-round.
ISSUES CAUSED BY COMMON GRACKLES:
- Damage to agricultural crops
- Large mess of droppings under roosting trees
- Bullying behavior at feeders and around picnickers
HOW TO MANAGE ISSUES WITH COMMON GRACKLES:
- Exclude birds from roosting areas using netting
- Harassment of birds damaging crops with lasers
Sources: The Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology bird guide, Humane Society of the United States, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, Nest Watch