Fewer Mixed Blackbird Flocks at My Feeders 2020

Common Grackles are Often Part of Mixed Flocks
Common Grackles are Often Part of Mixed Flocks

Large mixed “blackbird” flocks are the bane of backyard birdwatchers in late winter and early spring. Appearing in mass, groups of Common Grackles, European Starlings, Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Red-Winged Blackbirds can take over feeders and push other birds out. But this year, for many reasons, the blackbird flocks are not as much of a problem in my yard. Some of this is because of things I’ve done to set up my feeders and some is beyond my control.

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When Grackles Don’t Leave

Common Grackle at Squirrel Buster Plus (Perches Removed)
Common Grackle Hovers at Bird Feeder

This year, the spring grackles didn’t leave. Every year, we get flocks of nuisance “blackbirds”, including Common Grackles, in late winter and early spring. In my area, some of these grackles are year-round residents but more northern-based grackles do also migrate through the area, increasing their numbers. They usually only cause problems for a few weeks. This year was different.

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Build Brush Piles For Birds

Carolina Wren on Brush Pile
Carolina Wren

One of the nicest gifts you can give the birds in your yard won’t cost you a dime. It’s a brush pile. While we might like to think that birds can eat safely at our backyard feeders, the birds we feed are in turn are often eaten by predators who come to feeders to find them. Brush piles give birds a quick place to flee when a hawk soars through the feeder area or a neighborhood cat saunters by.

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