The term blackbird loosely refers to a diverse group of about 10 species of North American birds that belong to the subfamily Icterinae. The various species of blackbirds have several traits in common.
Identify Blackbirds: Blackbird Varieties
When implementing effective blackbird removal solutions, it is important to identify which type of blackbird you are dealing with. Blackbirds have several species including:
- Common Grackle
- Great-Tailed Grackle
- Red-Winged Blackbird
- Yellow-Headed Blackbird
- Brown-Headed Blackbird
- Rusty Blackbird
- Brewer’s Blackbird
Most blackbird complaints are associated with Common Grackles and Red-Winged Blackbirds. If you need assistance with a blackbird problem or blackbird damage, please contact Critter Control today for blackbird trapping and for more information.
How to Identify the Common Grackle Blackbird
Common Grackles can be found throughout North America, usually east of the Rockies. They tend to build their nests in farmyards, marshes and shelterbelts. They have a strong bill, enabling them to eat acorns and other tree fruits throughout the winter; Common Grackles fly south to winter, often alongside other birds like cowbirds, starlings and redwings. Common Grackles are known as an iridescent blackbird with a long keel-shaped tail. Females are slightly smaller than the males and the males have more iridescence on the head and neck.
How to Identify the Red-Winged Blackbird
Red-Winged Blackbirds tend to build their nests in marshes, hayfields and ditches. You may find large flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds feeding in fields, eating harmful insects like corn earworms and rootworm beetles. Similarly to the Common Grackle, these birds also fly south in the winter. Red-Winged Blackbirds have black bodies with patches of red and yellow feathers in the shoulder area. Males are slightly smaller than robins and females are smaller than males; females are brownish in color and resemble the sparrow.
It is common to find large flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds congregating in marshes or woods during the night. Sometimes flocks include several million birds! However, these birds only have an annual survival rate of 50-60%.
Blackbird Damage Identification: What Types of Damage do Blackbirds Cause?
Blackbird Damage and Common Grackle Damage to Crops
Both the Common Grackle and Red-Winged Blackbird have been known to cause significant blackbird damage to crops. Common Grackles will eat the mature corn in fields, pulling kernels from the cob. They will also pull out sprouting corn. In addition to corn, Red-Winged Blackbirds can cause blackbird damage to other crops, such as oats, rice, sunflowers and sorghum. If you have a blackbird problem and need assistance with blackbird control to keep them away from your crops, contact a Critter Control blackbird removal professional today.
Blackbird Damage Prevention: Blackbird Control and Blackbird Removal Solutions
Get Rid of Blackbird Problems Through Exclusion
Getting rid of blackbirds through exclusion methods is not usually a practical solution for blackbird control and blackbird removal. In small areas, netting methods can be implemented. Contact Critter Control today for help getting rid of blackbirds or setting up bird nets.
How to Keep Blackbirds Away From Crops
If you are in the agriculture industry, you may know how annoying blackbirds can be. Once you identity blackbirds as the nuisance here are a few tips to help prevent future blackbird problems:
- Grow non-preferred crops near blackbird roosting areas so they will leave your other crops alone
- Try not to plant rice too early
- Harvest your crops, especially corn, as soon as possible to avoid blackbird invasion
Will Frightening Blackbirds Keep Them Away?
There are several devices that can be used for blackbird control and to keep blackbirds away from your home or crops. One in particular is the propane exploder. It is important to use these devices properly in order to prevent harm to yourself, others or the birds themselves. Contact Critter Control for help with frightening blackbirds.
Repellents and Toxicants for Blackbird Removal
Blackbirds can also be controlled using seed treatments. Currently, there are no effective toxicants for blackbird control. For more information on seed treatments and blackbird repellents, contact Critter Control today.
Blackbird Trapping Methods
Blackbird trapping is usually not an effective approach for blackbird removal. There are other successful methods for blackbird control, so contact the Critter Control office near you for more information.
Blackbird Control Legal Status: Are Blackbirds Protected?
Blackbirds are federally protected by the United States under Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They may only be killed when they are found “committing or about to commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance,” as stated in federal laws regarding migratory birds (50 CFR 21). Additional blackbird killing restrictions will vary per state.
Although nuisance animals, some blackbirds are beneficial to the environment. Before killing the blackbirds causing you blackbird problems, please contact a Critter Control blackbird removal professional for humane blackbird removal services.
To learn more about Critter Control's animal control and animal removal services, visit Our Services.
For more information on Critter Control franchises, visit Franchise Opportunities.
Interested in joining the Critter Control team? Visit Employment Opportunities for more information.
Not all products and methods mentioned within this site are applicable in the state of New York