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Dealing With Birdfeeder Bullies

Birdfeeder Bullies
Keeping your bird feeder stocked with seeds for your favorite birds may invite intruders. This guide is about dealing with birdfeeder bullies.
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Solutions

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By 0 found this helpful
March 6, 2008

Question:

I have a bird feeder in the backyard and I have noticed a mocking bird totally taking over. It harasses all other birds, especially cardinals. The finches have stopped coming too. This is being going on for last 4-5 days. Help needed.
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Hardiness Zone: 7b

Asad from Jonesboro, AR

Answer:

Asad,

I had this same "bullies at the birdfeer" problem last year with European starlings. I stopped feeding everyone and eventually the starlings moved on. Then I slowly resumed feeding, but only Niger and safflower seeds, two seeds bully birds generally don't find desirable, but only finches, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, and grosbeaks do. Slowly I added other seeds back in to lure in more types of birds. Everyone came back but the starlings (knocking on wood and crossing fingers).

Mockingbirds are notoriously territorial-especially during breeding season. One strategy might be to erect a second feeder in a different part of the yard that is out of sight of your first feeder. Most mockers will be so focused on defending the first feeder and won't even notice the second.

Another strategy is to erect some type of crate-like cage from wire or lattice to cover your current feeder. The holes need to be smaller than 2 inches to keep mocking birds (and starlings) out. If you use wire, make sure it's rigid and a wide enough gauge to prevent little feet from getting caught. The cage will allow smaller birds to get in, while keeping bullies out. Don't worry, I assure you the little guys will figure it out and resume feeding.

Some backyard birders have also found success by shortening or eliminating the perches on their tube feeders. Personally, I have not tried this, but the theory is that the smaller birds will still zoom by to grab seed, but instead of hanging out on a perch, they will take it out of harms way to eat it.

You can find more ideas for controlling bully birds at the National Wildlife Federation, here: http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife/article.cfm?issueID=76&articleID=1101

Good luck!

Ellen

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March 15, 20170 found this helpful

Many people maintain bird feeders for song birds. Therefore they are often dismayed when larger bully birds try to take over the feeder. This is a guide about keeping blackbirds out of bird feeders.

Blackbird at Bird Feeder

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Photos

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February 21, 2017

Photo Description
I am having a problem being able to feed my song birds like I have in the past. Usually during the winter months, I've had no problem with cowbirds, but this year, they have been a real pest.

Cowbirds are brood parasites. They don't hatch their own eggs. They lay their eggs in the nest of other birds and sometimes destroy the eggs of the other bird. A female can lay about 40 eggs per year. Their population is increasing.

To feed the pair of cardinals that visit every day, I put just a little bird seed in the large feeder in the morning and watch the feeder. If the cowbirds come, I scare them away.

I keep the finch feeder full of a premium finch food. Except for the woodpecker, the large birds can't get to the seed in this feeder. Other than the woodpecker who helps himself, I enjoy watching the gold finches, chickadees, sparrows, house finches, tufted titmouse, and the nuthatches. They all love the Premium Finch Lovers Blend I get from Walmart. It's expensive, but well worth me being able enjoy my bird watching.

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