Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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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)
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,
contained by mountains and the ocean. Over the ages, this population evolved differently - into Steller's Jays.