Blackbirds tend to raid feeders and drive small passerines away. So it’s essential to find out how to keep blackbirds away from bird feeders. The good news, there are multiple tactics that you can choose from.
To keep blackbirds away, protect your bird feeder using a wire cage and dome. It’s also important to choose a suitable feeder that does not attract blackbirds. Or you can use foods that they do not like.
However, to be fair to all bird breeds, you can choose to feed both bullies and small songbirds. Simply separate their feeders.
Table of Contents
- How to Scare Blackbirds Away?
- How to Get Rid of Black Birds From Your Feeder?
- Helpful Tips on Keeping Blackbirds at a Distance
How to Scare Blackbirds Away?
To effectively achieve your goal of keeping your bird feeder blackbirds-free, you can use the following tools/items. Some of these items may be expensive, but all of these products are worth it.
- Wire cage
- Tube-shape feeder
- Hopper-style feeder
- Weight-activated feeder
- Upside-down feeder
- Safflower seeds
- Ground feeder
- Milo-rich seeds
- Cleaning tools
How to Get Rid of Black Birds From Your Feeder?
In this section, we will list a couple of efficacious tactics to deter blackbirds from feeders. Not all of these methods may work for you. So try one or all, and see which one suits your needs well.
Method #1: Choose a bird feeder wisely
Bully birds such as blackbirds, grackles, and starlings love to invade feeders.
You can use a tube-like bird feeder that offers a small perching spot since the bullies will have difficulty landing on it. With this kind of feeder, only small passerines can eat the food you offer.
- A bird feeder allowing access from the bottom side
Acrobatic songbirds can feed on this type of feeder, but not the bully birds since they’re bigger and not so flexible.
So an upside-down feeder is definitely a great method of keeping blackbirds away.
It is perfect for only giving the small birds access to the food. This kind of feeder is designed with collapsible perches that can hold songbirds but not blackbirds, grackles, or starlings.
- A weight-activated blackbird proof bird feeder
This product works by allowing an opening to the food only if the weight of the birds passes the requirement. And blackbirds do not have the right weight to access this feeder.
Method #2: Put a dome on the feeder
Blackbirds and grackles at bird feeder are not a pretty sight. They bully smaller birds into leaving until no songbirds visit anymore. The good news is that there’s an option to deter the bully fowls from your yard through a dome.
A dome functions as a cover for the feeder that is attached on top, like an umbrella.
By using a dome, the bigger birds cannot enter your feeder and feed from it. Only small passerines can enter inside the dome and access your feeder, so this method is effective.
Additionally, a dome on your feeder can safeguard the food from the rain. And birds can feed safely even when it’s raining.
Method #3: Install a wire cage
Red-winged blackbirds are bigger than small songbirds. Use this information to your advantage.
What you can do is surround your bird feeder with a wire cage. However, choose one that has enough space opening to let a small passerine in and out.
By utilizing a wire cage with 2-inch holes, the blackbirds and other invaders cannot enter. This method will surely deter the bully birds from coming to your feeder anymore.
Method #4: Feed blackbirds separately
To keep other birds like blackbirds, starlings, and grackles from your feeder, create a separate feeding space. You need to lure the blackbirds from the main feeder towards a separate ground feeder.
On the dedicated blackbird feeder, use cheap commercial seeds that are filled with milo. They love that stuff. And on the songbird feeder, fill it with food that blackbirds hate, like hulled seeds.
Through this method, instead of finding ways to scare blackbirds away, you get to fulfill your passion for feeding all kinds of birds. So you attract songbirds to an off-ground feeder and the bullies on the ground.
Method #5: Don’t give blackbirds what they want
If you’re wondering when will the blackbirds leave your feeder alone, then you should not feed them what they like.
The bully birds like bread, sunflower seeds, millet, pizza crusts, corn, and wheat. So refrain from placing these types of food on your feeder.
Once the blackbirds visit your feeder and cannot find their favorite meal, they’ll surely leave and move on. And even though songbirds love sunflower seeds, there are other bird foods to use to keep bullies away.
Also, blackbirds like fruits such as blueberries, apples, cherries, raisins, plums, and strawberries, just like songbirds do.
So in the meantime, refrain from placing fruits on your feeder. You can use fruits again once the blackbirds are gone from your yard.
Method #6: Use safflower seeds on the feeder
To drive unwanted birds like blackbirds and grackles from your feeder, use the food they hate most.
And blackbirds are known to detest hard-shelled seeds, so choose your bird food wisely. So consider safflower seeds, since they’re a bit bitter for the taste of blackbirds, but small passerines like them.
Once blackbirds see that your feeder contains the seed they detest, they will leave.
Over time, the bullies will not come back. By this time, you can switch back to the foods that songbirds like, such as sunflower seeds, suet, and others.
Helpful Tips on Keeping Blackbirds at a Distance
Blackbirds are known to terrorize songbirds, and of course, you must not let the bullying go on. Let’s look at a few tips on how you can stop blackbirds from coming to your bird feeder.
- Stop using bird feeders that have styles of a tray, platform, ground, house, or other styles that allow a large space for perching. These feeders allow blackbirds to easily feed on the food, so avoid them in your yard.
- Blackbirds have soft beaks, so they can’t handle seeds that have hard shells. To deter them from your bird feeder, opt for safflower seeds and hulled sunflowers.
- Millet and milo are filler seeds that blackbirds love to munch on. These seeds are found in cheap commercial products. So it’s best to purchase only high-quality bird seeds from now on.
- Create a fixed feeding time from 3 in the afternoon to in the evening. Small passerines will remember this feeding process. But the blackbirds will move on if there is no permanent food source.
- Blackbirds hate hummingbird feeders because of the tiny ports for feeding. So if you want to attract hummingbirds and keep blackbirds away, choose this kind of bird feeder.
- Clean your yard daily because blackbirds like to eat seeds and leftovers from the feeders that fell on the ground.
- Though using a kite is a cost-effective way to scare blackbirds from your feeder, it’s not recommended. Keep in mind that songbirds are birds too, and they can be deterred by kites.
- If the perching area of your feeder is long, cut them out. Make the landing spot short, so the blackbirds will have difficulty standing and feeding on your feeder.
All the tactics we featured on how to keep blackbirds away from bird feeders have been proven to work. It’s up to you to use one or try out every method available. The main idea is that covering your bird feeder is ideal for allowing only small birds inside.
In terms of food, avoid using seeds that blackbirds love. Instead, use their weakness in hulled seeds to deter them. Additionally, choose the right kind of feeder.
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.