how to deter large birds from feeders

3 Strategies to Get Rid of Bully Birds

It is proven that these three approaches and their tactics can eradicate bully birds. Many of them have been effectively utilized by both myself and the customers of the bird and nature store where I work. If one tactic doesnt solve the problem, try another one.

Please be patient with me as I’m still learning how to feed and watch babies. We’ve set up a bird feeding station with hanging feeders filled with suet balls, peanuts, coconut suet, and sunflower hearts. We also have a bird table with table mix seeds. Beautiful bluetits, goldfinches, greenfinches, sparrows, and robins were all enjoying the feast until the table food disappeared and the pigeons were held responsible. After attaching modified bird spikes, which I have video evidence of, the pigeons were deterred, but the food continued to disappear. Eventually, I discovered that the cause of this was crows actually getting in between the two spikes. 5″ apart.

1. Offer Foods Bully Birds Don’t Like

Many bully birds prefer to eat bread and seed blends that include corn, millet, wheat, and sunflower seeds. One way to discourage bully birds is to get some of these foods and place them on the ground away from your other feeders.

But you should stay away from these foods completely if you want to deter bully birds from visiting at all. Try safflower seed and thistle seed (Nyjer® seed) instead.

Few bully birds like safflower seed. Due to their bitter taste, birds such as the common grackle, red-winged blackbird, and European starling will not eat sunflower seeds. An extra benefit is that mature squirrels won’t consume sunflower seeds either!

If you only offer safflower seed and nothing else, youll rid yourself of many bully birds. And dont worry about your other birds. With safflower seed and one or two weeks to allow for them to adjust to the change, youll still attract finches, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, and grosbeaks.

Thistle seed is another seed bully birds dont like. Like safflower, thistle has a shell that some bullies, like house sparrows, would prefer not to deal with. Additionally, thistle seeds are incredibly tiny and have a distinct shape from other seeds that birds love.

A second deterrent is provided by the thistle seed feeders. Bully beaks are unable to reach into the tiny feeding ports on thistle feeders in order to access the seed.


How do I keep big birds out of my bird feeder?

Use selective feeders: Choose feeders that are designed to accommodate smaller birds and have mechanisms to prevent larger birds like blackbirds and starlings from accessing the food. For example, tube feeders with small perches or mesh feeders can allow smaller birds to feed while excluding larger ones.

How do I keep large black birds away from my bird feeder?

Try enclosing the feeders with large-mesh hardware cloth or chicken wire with openings big enough to allow smaller birds to pass through (a 2-inch opening should do). This will exclude the large birds and help you get rid of the grackles and blackbirds.

How do I stop crows and magpies eating bird food?

A simple way to stop them is to fix two hanging baskets together around the bird feeder, using cable ties. The small birds can still squeeze through the gaps to get to the food, while the larger birds can clear up any spilled seeds on the ground.