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Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to repel (or attract) Grackles

Grackles love the seed called millet. Of course, they eat almost anything, but millet is their favorite. Millet is a very small, roundish seed often used in birdfood. Because millet has a comparatively low cost to retailers such as "big box" stores, it's very common in inexpensive seed blends. The problem is, there are two different kinds: red and white.  Birds clearly know the difference. Blends that use the cheap red millet, or a mixture of red and white, for marketing appeal and to minimize costs, should be avoided. Birds will actively select the white millet and ignore the bitter-tasting (though inexpensive) red millet.
       Grackles, on the other hand, readily eat them both.   So feeding millet invites Grackles to hang around your yard; not using a seed blend with millet discourages them.
From whence came Steller’s Jays?     In north Texas we have Blue Jays (much of the Midwest and East, too). In the Pacific Northwest, however, they have Steller’s Jays. The prevalent theory is that a population of Blue Jays was isolated there during the ice ages,
Steller's Jay
  contained by mountains and the ocean. Over the ages, this population evolved differently - into Steller's Jays.


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