How To Keep Black Birds Out Of Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds of all kinds to your backyard. However, for many bird enthusiasts, keeping pesky blackbirds away from their feeders can be a constant challenge. Blackbirds are known for their aggressive nature and their tendency to swarm around bird feeders, scaring off smaller birds and consuming large amounts of seed.

If you’re tired of dealing with these feathered bullies at your feeder, don’t worry – there are several effective strategies you can use to keep them at bay. From choosing the right type of feeder to using visual deterrents, in this article we’ll explore some tips and tricks that will help you enjoy feeding your feathered friends without having to deal with unwanted guests. So read on if you want to learn how to outsmart those wily blackbirds!

Understanding The Behavior Of Blackbirds

As an avian wildlife expert, it is imperative to understand the behavior of blackbirds when attempting to keep them out of bird feeders. These birds are known for their large flocks and tendency to be aggressive towards other birds at feeding stations. Understanding these traits is key in deterring them from your feeder.

Blackbird migration plays a significant role in their behavior around feeders. During winter months, food sources become scarce, causing blackbirds to flock together in search of sustenance. This makes bird feeders an attractive option for these birds as they compete with each other for resources. Additionally, weather patterns can impact blackbird behavior, particularly during extreme cold or snowfall. They will often congregate in larger numbers at feeding stations during these times.

It’s important to note that not all blackbirds behave similarly at feeders; some species may show less aggression than others. However, understanding the general tendencies of blackbirds can help prevent damage or depletion of your feeder’s contents.

In summary, comprehending the natural habits and behaviors of blackbirds is essential knowledge when trying to avoid their presence at your backyard feeder. By recognizing how migration patterns and weather affect their movement and concentration levels, you’ll have greater success in keeping them away from your bird food source without resorting to harmful tactics against this fascinating species.

To achieve this objective successfully, the first step would be choosing the right type of feeder that discourages access by larger birds like crows while still allowing smaller songbirds adequate space to eat comfortably.

Choosing The Right Type Of Feeder

When it comes to choosing the right type of feeder, there are a few key factors you’ll want to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to select a feeder that is designed with smaller birds in mind. Blackbirds tend to be larger and more aggressive than many other species, so opting for a feeder with small perches or openings can help keep them at bay.

Another important consideration when selecting your feeder is placement. You’ll want to choose an area that is relatively sheltered from wind and rain, but also away from any dense foliage where blackbirds may like to hide. Similarly, if you have multiple feeders set up in one location, try spacing them out so that they aren’t all clustered together – this will help prevent overcrowding and minimize competition between different bird species.

Finally, seed selection can play a big role in deterring blackbirds from visiting your feeders. Opting for seeds that are less appealing to these birds (such as nyjer or safflower) can help discourage them from stopping by while still providing plenty of options for other feathered friends who might enjoy those types of food.

To really make the most of your backyard bird-watching experience, consider incorporating some additional elements into your setup! Here are three ideas:

  1. Install a water feature nearby: Many bird species love nothing more than splashing around in shallow pools or fountains, and offering fresh water can go a long way towards attracting a wider variety of visitors.
  2. Hang nesting boxes: Providing safe spaces for birds to build nests not only helps support local populations but can also encourage repeat visits from grateful parents!
  3. Create natural barriers: If you’re really struggling with keeping blackbirds out of specific areas of your yard (like near certain feeders), consider planting hedges or shrubs that create natural partitions – this can help break up sightlines and give other bird species room to thrive.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to creating a bird-friendly environment that appeals to all sorts of feathered friends – without having to worry about pesky blackbirds monopolizing your feeders!

Offering Alternative Food Sources

As the black birds continue to invade your bird feeders, it is important to consider alternative food sources for them. Planting vegetation that produces seeds and fruits that these birds prefer can help deter them from your feeders. In addition, providing water sources such as bird baths or small ponds will also attract them away from your feeders.

Another effective method in deterring black birds is through noise deterrents. By using devices such as wind chimes or even playing recordings of predator calls, you can create an environment that is unappealing for these birds. Just be sure not to use sounds that may harm other species of birds or wildlife.

It is important to note that while offering alternative food sources and utilizing noise deterrents can be helpful in keeping black birds out of your feeders, they are not foolproof methods. It may take some experimentation with different plant species and sound options before finding what works best for your specific situation.

In the next section, we will discuss visual deterrents which have proven to be very effective in keeping unwanted birds away from bird feeders. These include items such as scarecrows, reflective tape, and decoys of natural predators. By incorporating one or more of these options into your backyard setup, you can ensure a peaceful feeding area for all types of birds without interference from pesky black birds.

Using Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrents are an effective way to keep black birds out of bird feeders. Blackbirds, also known as common grackles, can be a nuisance for backyard bird enthusiasts because they often monopolize the feeder and scare off other species. Using scarecrows or reflective tape are two popular visual deterrents that have been proven successful in deterring blackbirds.

Scarecrows are one of the oldest methods of bird control and remain a popular choice among homeowners today. A well-placed scarecrow near your bird feeder can help deter blackbirds from landing and feeding. Reflective tape is another effective visual deterrent that works by reflecting light and scaring away unwanted birds. The shiny material catches their attention and makes them nervous, causing them to fly away.

The psychology of bird vision plays a critical role in understanding why certain deterrents work better than others. Blackbirds have excellent vision, so any visual deterrent needs to be bright, flashy, and moveable to catch their attention effectively. Scarecrows with moving parts such as flapping arms or spinning heads can create enough movement to make blackbirds uncomfortable and less likely to land on your feeder.

See also  Is Limu Emu A Real Bird

In addition to using scarecrows or reflective tape, it’s important not to overlook other simple techniques like changing up the location of your feeder or removing food sources that attract blackbirds. Creating distractions around your property (such as scattering corn kernels) can also encourage these birds to look elsewhere for food.

By utilizing some of these tips along with visual deterrents like scarecrows and reflective tape, you’ll be able to reduce the number of blackbirds visiting your feeder without harming them physically or creating too much fuss. In the next section, we will discuss how installing physical barriers can also be an effective solution for keeping black birds out of bird feeders.

Installing Physical Barriers

As I mentioned earlier, visual deterrents can be an effective way to keep black birds out of your bird feeders. However, if you find that they are still getting into your feeders despite the use of visual deterrents, it may be time to consider installing physical barriers.

Building fences around your bird feeder area is one option for keeping black birds out. This will require some planning and construction skills, but it can be a long-term solution to the problem. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the fence are covered with netting to prevent birds from squeezing through. It’s also important to make sure that the fence is high enough so that birds cannot simply fly over it.

Another option is using netting directly on top of your bird feeder itself. This prevents birds from landing on the feeder and accessing the food inside. Be sure to choose a sturdy and durable material that won’t tear easily, as black birds can be quite persistent when trying to get their meal.

Creating a distraction area away from your bird feeders can also help draw black birds away from them. Consider setting up another feeding station farther away from your main one, stocked with foods such as cracked corn or sunflower seeds which blackbirds prefer. With this approach, you’re not necessarily keeping blackbirds away entirely, but rather redirecting them towards an alternative food source instead.

To further discourage blackbirds from visiting your main feeder location altogether, try incorporating some loud noises or sudden movements nearby – anything unexpected will likely startle these wary creatures and send them flying off elsewhere!

Creating A Distraction Area

To keep black birds out of your bird feeders, one strategy is to create a distraction area. This involves setting up an alternative feeding spot that will appeal more to the black birds than your main feeder. By doing this, you can successfully entice them away from the primary feeding station and prevent them from monopolizing it.

One option for creating a distraction area is to put out food specifically designed for blackbirds. These birds tend to prefer larger seeds such as sunflower or safflower seeds, so consider offering these in a separate location. You may also want to include other foods that are known to be appealing to black birds, like suet cakes or mealworms.

Another approach is to attract other types of birds to the area around your feeder. Black birds are less likely to dominate when there is competition for resources. Consider planting bird-friendly plants nearby that will provide shelter and nesting opportunities for songbirds. Additionally, make sure that you have a diverse range of seed options available at your main feeder – different species enjoy different types of food.

Creating a distraction area can be an effective way of keeping black birds away from your bird feeders, but it may take some trial and error before finding what works best for your situation. Keep experimenting with different combinations of food and placement until you find something that effectively deters the pesky visitors without negatively impacting other species.

As previously mentioned, another technique worth trying is changing feeding schedules. By adjusting when you fill up your bird feeders – perhaps only filling them in the morning instead of leaving them full all day – you may be able to reduce the amount of time that blackbirds have access to them. In addition, try relocating feeders closer or further away from trees where they roost overnight which could limit their ability to get into the feeder early in the morning or late afternoon when they are most active.

Changing Feeding Schedules

Now that you have created a distraction area to keep black birds away from your bird feeders, there are still some additional measures you can take. One option is adjusting the location of your feeder. Black birds tend to congregate in areas with ample cover and food sources, so moving your feeder to an open space may deter them from visiting. Be sure to place it out of reach of predators like cats or squirrels.

Another approach is varying the types of food you offer at your feeder. Black birds are attracted to seeds like sunflower and millet, but they also enjoy insects and fruit. Try offering mealworms or slices of apple alongside your usual seed mix. This not only adds variety for other species, but it could help shift the feeding preferences of black birds elsewhere.

It’s important to note that these methods may not completely eliminate visits from black birds, as they are intelligent creatures who quickly adapt to change. However, by implementing multiple deterrents simultaneously, you increase your chances of success.

In addition to making changes at your feeder itself, another key aspect is regularly cleaning it out. Old seed hulls and debris can accumulate on the bottom over time, which can harbor bacteria and disease that could harm both avian visitors and humans alike. By maintaining a clean environment around your feeder, you create a healthier habitat for all wildlife involved.

Transition: Keeping a clean feeding station isn’t just about hygiene – it also plays a significant role in deterring unwanted guests like black birds. Let’s explore this further in our next section on cleaning tips for bird feeders.

Cleaning Your Feeder Regularly

Maintaining the cleanliness of your bird feeders is crucial to keeping black birds away. As an avian wildlife expert, I cannot stress enough the importance of hygiene when it comes to feeding our feathered friends. The accumulation of birdseed and droppings can create a breeding ground for bacteria that may lead to diseases among birds.

To prevent mold growth in your feeder, make sure you clean it regularly with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly before refilling it with fresh seed. If you notice any signs of mold or mildew, discard both the seed and feeder immediately.

You also need to pay attention to spilled seeds around the feeder area. Birds tend to scatter them as they pick their favorites from the mix. Regularly sweep up any debris on or around the feeder to discourage unwanted visitors like black birds from coming around.

See also  Are Penguins Birds Or Fish

Regular cleaning is essential not only for preventing disease but also for maintaining the quality of bird food being served in your backyard sanctuary. In the next section, we will discuss seeking professional help if necessary so that you can continue providing a safe environment for your feathered friends while keeping intruders at bay.

Seeking Professional Help If Necessary

If you have tried multiple methods to keep black birds out of your bird feeders without success, it may be time to seek professional help. Consulting ornithologists can provide valuable insight into the behavior and habits of black birds, as well as offer solutions tailored to your specific situation.

One option that a professional may suggest is implementing scare tactics. This could include installing visual deterrents such as reflective tape or predator decoys, or using auditory deterrents like loud noises or recordings of distress calls. However, it’s important to note that these methods should be used carefully and selectively so as not to harm other harmless species.

In addition to scare tactics, a professional may also recommend adjusting the type of food in your feeder or its placement. Certain types of seeds or nuts may be more attractive to certain bird species, including black birds. Moving the feeder away from bushes or trees where they can perch and access the food may also deter them from frequenting the area.

While seeking professional help for keeping black birds out of your bird feeders may come at an added cost, it can ultimately save time and frustration in finding a solution on your own. Plus, with expert guidance, you’ll likely find a long-term solution that benefits both you and our feathered friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Birdseed Do Blackbirds Prefer?

As an avian wildlife expert, I can tell you that different birdseed types are crucial when it comes to attracting specific bird species. For instance, blackbirds have a particular preference for sunflower seeds and mealworms. However, other birds like finches prefer thistle seed or nyjer seed. To attract various bird species to your backyard feeder, it’s essential to offer them their preferred type of food. When selecting birdseed, keep in mind the size of the bird too; smaller birds like chickadees require small seeds while larger birds need bigger ones. So choose wisely! Remember that feeding birds is an enjoyable activity that brings nature closer to home – just make sure not to overfeed them and clean up any debris regularly as this could attract unwanted pests and predators.

Can Blackbirds Be Trained To Stay Away From Bird Feeders?

To address the issue of blackbirds frequently visiting bird feeders, behavior modification techniques can be employed. One method is to use a bird repellent that specifically targets blackbirds. Repellents containing capsaicin or methyl anthranilate have been effective in deterring these birds from feeding areas. However, it’s important to note that while this approach may reduce blackbird visits, it could also potentially deter other desirable species as well. Another option would be to modify the feeder itself by making adjustments such as removing perches or installing baffles to make it more difficult for larger birds like blackbirds to access the food source. Overall, success in keeping blackbirds away from feeders will depend on using a combination of strategies and persistence in implementing them.

How Often Should I Clean My Bird Feeder?

As an avian wildlife expert, it is important to stress the significance of maintaining a clean bird feeder. The best cleaning methods vary depending on the type of feeder you have, but in general, hot soapy water and a scrub brush are effective at removing any leftover food or debris that may be clinging to the surface. However, regardless of the method used, it is recommended that feeders be cleaned every two weeks or more frequently if they become particularly dirty. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to bacterial growth and disease transmission among birds using the feeder. By keeping your bird feeder clean with proper frequency of maintenance, you are not only ensuring their health but also attracting a wider variety of feathered friends to enjoy.

Will A Fake Owl Or Hawk Scare Away Blackbirds?

As an avian wildlife expert, I often recommend alternative methods to deter pesky birds from feeding on your bird feeders. Understanding bird behavior is key in determining which method will work best for you. One popular option among backyard enthusiasts is the use of fake owls or hawks. While these decoys may initially scare off some blackbirds, it’s important to note that they quickly catch onto this trick and become immune to its effects. It’s crucial to regularly switch up your tactics as well as keeping a clean feeder to ensure unwanted visitors stay away.

Is It Safe To Use Chemicals Or Poisons To Deter Blackbirds?

Chemical alternatives can be effective in deterring blackbirds, but they come with risks to both the environment and other non-targeted wildlife species. Natural deterrents are a safer option as they do not pose any toxic threats or harm to birds of prey. Some natural methods that have proven successful include using shiny objects such as CDs or aluminum foil strips, placing bird feeders away from bushes and trees where blackbirds tend to roost, and changing up the type of seeds used in bird feeders. As an avian wildlife expert, I strongly advise against the use of chemicals or poisons in deterring blackbirds due to their potential negative impact on the ecosystem.


As an avian wildlife expert, I can assure you that keeping black birds out of bird feeders is a common concern among bird enthusiasts. The first step to addressing this issue is understanding what type of birdseed blackbirds prefer. These birds tend to favor sunflower seeds and suet, so avoiding these options in your feeder can be helpful.

While some may wonder if blackbirds can be trained to stay away from bird feeders, the truth is that they are simply following their natural instincts. However, regular cleaning of your feeder can discourage them from returning for more food scraps. Additionally, placing fake owls or hawks near the feeder may deter blackbirds but has no guarantee of success.

It’s important to remember that using chemicals or poisons to deter blackbirds is not only ineffective but also potentially harmful to other wildlife in the area. Instead, opting for alternative methods such as adjusting the types of birdseed used or regularly cleaning the feeder are safer and more effective ways to keep unwanted guests at bay. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your backyard feathered friends while minimizing disruptions caused by pesky blackbirds.

Leave a Reply