We’ve all been there. We’re excited about attracting beautiful songbirds to our back yard, so we buy the feeders and the seed, set everything up and settle down to wait for our winged visitors to find our bird feeder. Or not. Instead, we see bully birds such as blackbirds, grackles, pigeons and sparrows descend upon our yard, intimidating and scaring away the songbirds we wanted to attract in the first place. What happened? And how do we keep undesirable birds away from our feeders?
Don’t get discouraged. Like you, many of our readers have encountered a problem with undesirable birds and found ways to deal with these unwanted pests. Here are some ideas they’ve shared with us:
Focus on the right seeds. In general, bully birds prefer bread, cracked corn, millet, wheat and sunflower seeds. The easiest way to make them stay away from your feeder is to offer food they won’t eat. To feed finches, fill hanging tube feeders with only nyjer seed (thistle). For cardinals, chickadees and nuthatches, provide safflower seed in hopper or tray feeders. If you do this, grackles, crows and blackbirds will avoid your feeders and look elsewhere for the food they enjoy.
Keep the mess to a minimum. One of the most prevalent problems bird lovers encounter are bully birds that eat the cast-off seeds below hanging and post feeders. Pigeons and sparrows are especially notorious for gathering underneath bird feeders for their meals. The easiest solution? Try collecting the fallen seeds in a deep plastic container underneath the feeders, such as a garbage pail or bin. Most birds cannot or will not get inside a container, not even in search for food. That way you’ll keep your yard clean and avoid pest birds from overtaking your feeder and scaring songbirds away.
Use a bird feeder with small perches and a cage that keeps out larger birds. In most cases, undesirable birds tend to be larger than songbirds, so enclosing the feeder in some sort of baffle with smaller openings will deny access to the bully birds while allowing smaller birds to feed. Openings should be no bigger than 2 inches. It also helps to have the feeder tray located several inches inside the cage so that undesirable birds can’t reach the food with their longer beaks.
Feeding the birds you love should be a joy and not a hassle. While pests can try to take over your feeders, you don’t have to let them. If you’re looking for a feeder that keeps out larger birds, check out our Tray Feeder with Hood and Cage. The hood and cage protect your seed and also keep out bully birds. The openings in the cage are the perfect size for the smaller songbirds to feed in peace. While you’re visiting our website, feel free to look around and see what else we have to offer that will enhance your bird watching experience. We’re here to help!
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