About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Too Many Blackbirds at the Feeders!

I'm overrun with grackles and blackbirds. I know about the "safflower solution". Is there anything else I can do to rid my yard of these menaces? Roger

For those of you that don't know about Wild Birds Unlimited's ever popular Safflower Solution to get rid of squirrels and blackbirds, click HERE to read more.
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The arrival of hungry blackbirds in the spring can be overwhelming for some people. You just have to remember that after these heavy rains that mid-Michigan is experiencing, the weather will warm up and the bugs will start hatching. That is when you'll be thankful that these menacing birds are patrolling your lawn for a variety of creepy crawlies and flying insects.
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In the meantime I've made a checklist of some ways to reduce the numbers of blackbirds from your feeders:
1)Change seed: Take away cracked corn or food scraps, their favorite foods. Switch to an all safflower seed diet for a few weeks. Squirrels, blackbirds, starlings, and crows don’t like safflower. It may take awhile for the other songbirds to accept the change but it is a favorite with cardinals and chickadees. And gradually the rest of the songbirds will switch over to safflower.

2)Change your bird feeders: Replace platform or hopper feeders with tube feeders, the Squirrel Buster Plus weighted perch feeder, or the upside down suet feeder. If the birds are unable to sit and eat comfortably they will probably move on to easier feeding areas.

3)Keep larger birds away from spilled seed: Since song birds knock seed out of feeders, limit access to spilled seed by placing rocks or shrubs beneath your feeders. Smaller birds will be able to hop in and out of tiny places, unlike big blackbirds.

4)Make the area more desirable for songbirds: Lots of trees will make them feel secure, as will the presence of a constant water source. Blackbirds and Crows prefer the open fields or yards.

Also be aware that the abundance of blackbirds makes them an important prey base for many small predators. Thanks for the question.

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