Despite their menacing appearance, grackles are easily startled. If I tap on my window very gently — so lightly even the ever-nervous doves don’t pay attention – the grackles will be in flight while all the other birds will keep eating. This includes squirrels and tiny birds like chickadees. I find it surprising that a bird who arrives in huge flocks and looks so malevolent would actually be so shy, but I’m glad. It makes playing scarecrow easier.
Shy they may be, but they make up for it with persistence. Also, they always leave a few sentry birds who watch and if they think it’s safe, will summon the rest of the flock.
My secret weapon is — oh, take a guess. Come on. You can figure it out. Right! You got it. It’s the Duke. I let him out on the deck for a couple of minutes. Literally, a minute or two. He runs around the deck sniffing and snorting and even the sentry grackles decide it’s time to move on. Meanwhile, the tiny little Downy Woodpeckers don’t even bother to look up from the suet they are usually eating. The squirrels leave while the Duke is outside, but come back the moment I close the door.
There were a lot of grackles out there for the first few hours of the morning. They emptied both cage feeders and anything else (except suet — they don’t seem to like it) edible. Around lunchtime I go and fill the feeders. This is when I start to shoo them away. They had all morning to eat. It’s time for other birds to chow down.
The grackles clearly disagree with this, but they will fly away if I make any noise. Even opening a window sets them flying. Of course, they ARE grackles and if I want the other birds to get a fair shake at eating, I have to stay in the kitchen and every time they come back, tap on the window. So, since I was standing around the kitchen anyway, I baked a fruit and nut bread. It’s banana-cranberry-walnut bread and it will go really well with coffee.