How To Keep Blackbirds Away From Your Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are pesky blackbirds constantly raiding your bird feeder and scaring away the smaller, more desirable birds? Fear not, for there are several effective methods to keep these troublesome birds at bay while still providing a safe haven for your feathered friends.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that blackbirds are highly intelligent and adaptable creatures. They have learned to exploit easy food sources such as backyard bird feeders and will continue to do so if given the opportunity. However, by implementing simple deterrents and making small adjustments to your feeding routine, you can discourage them from monopolizing your feeder and create a welcoming environment for a wider variety of songbirds. In this article, we’ll explore some tried-and-true strategies for keeping blackbirds out of your bird feeder once and for all.

Understanding Blackbird Behavior And Habits

Ah, the blackbird – a beautiful bird with shiny feathers and incredible vocal abilities. Unfortunately, these feathered friends can also be quite pesky when it comes to your bird feeder. But before we dive into ways of keeping them away, let’s first understand their feeding habits and nesting behavior.

Blackbirds are omnivorous birds that feed on insects, seeds, fruits, and even small animals like snails or worms. They prefer to forage on the ground rather than at elevated heights like other birds such as finches or sparrows. This means they’re more likely to create a mess around your bird feeder by scattering seeds all over the place.

When it comes to nesting behavior, blackbirds build nests in dense shrubs or trees close to sources of food and water. During breeding season (typically April through July), they become territorial and may aggressively defend their territory from other birds or humans who approach too closely.

Knowing these preferences helps us choose the right type of bird feeder and placement methods that prevent attracting unwanted guests while still providing an adequate food source for desirable ones. In the next section, we’ll discuss different types of bird feeders that cater specifically to certain species.

Choosing The Right Type Of Bird Feeder

When choosing the right type of bird feeder, it’s important to consider the type of birds you want to attract and the features of the feeders. For example, feeders with smaller perches and shorter feeding trays are ideal for keeping blackbirds away. Additionally, the location of the feeder is key; place it in an open area, far from trees and bushes, for maximum visibility and safety. With the right placement and feeder choice, you can enjoy a thriving bird population without the nuisance of blackbirds.

Types Of Feeders

When it comes to choosing the right type of bird feeder, there are many factors that you need to consider. One of the most important is selecting a feeder that is suitable for your target birds. If you’re trying to keep blackbirds away from your feeder, then hopper feeders and suet feeders may be your best bet.

Hopper feeders are designed to dispense seed gradually as the birds eat from them. These types of feeders typically have a large capacity, so they don’t require frequent refilling. Additionally, their design makes it difficult for larger birds like blackbirds to access the food inside. This means that smaller songbirds will still be able to enjoy the seeds without having to compete with more aggressive species.

Suet feeders are another great option if you want to deter blackbirds from your bird feeder. Suet is a high-fat substance that can be mixed with other ingredients like peanuts or fruit to attract a variety of different bird species. However, because suet feeders usually hang vertically instead of horizontally (like hopper feeders), it’s much harder for bigger birds like blackbirds to cling onto them and get at the contents inside.

Overall, when it comes down to keeping blackbirds away from your bird feeder, choosing the right type of feeder can make all the difference. So whether you opt for a hopper or suet feeder – or both! – make sure you select one that suits your needs and preferences in terms of size, style and functionality.

Location Of Feeder

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of selecting a feeder suitable for your target birds, let’s move onto another crucial factor in choosing the right type of bird feeder – location. Feeder placement can have a significant impact on the types of birds you attract and how often they visit.

One important consideration when it comes to feeder location is height. A good rule of thumb is to hang feeders at least five feet off the ground. This helps keep the food out of reach from predators like cats or squirrels while also making it easier for smaller birds to access without being intimidated by larger species. However, if you’re trying to keep blackbirds away, hanging your feeder higher (around seven feet) may be beneficial as they tend to prefer lower perches.

Another important factor to consider is distance from potential hazards such as windows or busy roads. Birds can become disoriented and collide with window panes, which can result in injury or death. To prevent this, place your feeder within three feet of a window or further than 30 feet away. Similarly, placing your feeder too close to traffic areas can increase the risk of accidents.

In addition to these considerations, think about what kind of environment your target birds prefer. For example, some species prefer open spaces while others are more comfortable feeding near trees or shrubs where they can take cover quickly if necessary. By paying attention to these details and taking them into account when deciding on feeder placement, you’ll increase the chances of attracting a diverse range of bird species to your backyard.

In summary, selecting an appropriate location for your bird feeder is just as critical as choosing the right type of feeder itself. Take into account factors such as height and distance from hazards like windows and traffic areas while also considering the preferred habitat for different bird species in order to maximize their comfort level and encourage frequent visits.

Using Physical Deterrents

Physical deterrents are a great way to keep blackbirds away from your bird feeder. One effective physical deterrent is the use of fake snakes. Blackbirds are known to be terrified of snakes, so placing one near your bird feeder can help deter them from approaching it.

Another physical deterrent that works well is reflective tape. When light hits the tape, it creates a flashing effect that scares off blackbirds. Simply attach some reflective tape around the area where you have placed your bird feeder and watch as the blackbirds stay away.

It’s important to note that these physical deterrents need to be regularly moved or adjusted in order for them to remain effective. If a blackbird sees that a snake isn’t moving or notices that the reflective tape has lost its shine, they may become desensitized to it and no longer see it as a threat.

By using fake snakes and reflective tape, you will be able to physically discourage blackbirds from visiting your bird feeder. In addition, once you have established this barrier between them and their food source, employing sound and visual deterrents can further reinforce their avoidance of the area.

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Employing Sound And Visual Deterrents

The shrill caws of blackbirds can be a nuisance to those who wish to enjoy the sweet melodies of songbirds. However, there are ways to deter these feathered pests from descending upon your bird feeder and gobbling up all of the seed.

One method is using decoy models. Placing fake birds near your feeders can trick blackbirds into thinking that an area is already claimed by another flock, causing them to move on. Be sure to choose realistic-looking models and switch their positions periodically to maintain effectiveness.

Another option is utilizing wind chimes. The sound and movement created by these gentle instruments can startle blackbirds, making them think twice before landing at your feeder again. Place them strategically around feeding areas for maximum efficacy.

While it may seem daunting to keep blackbirds away from your bird feeder, employing visual and auditory deterrents like decoy models and wind chimes can go a long way in deterring them from taking over. In addition, adjusting your feeding schedule can also aid in keeping unwanted visitors at bay.

Adjusting Your Feeding Schedule

Employing Sound and Visual Deterrents can be effective in keeping blackbirds away from your bird feeder, but there are other steps you can take to discourage them as well. One of the most important things to consider is Feeding frequency. Blackbirds tend to visit feeders more frequently during certain times of day, so adjusting when and how often you fill your bird feeder may help reduce the amount of visits they make.

Another factor that affects blackbird behavior around bird feeders is Meal selection. Choosing seeds or foods that blackbirds don’t like can help keep them away from your feeder. For example, blackbirds typically prefer sunflower seeds over millet or safflower seeds, so using these less desirable options might deter them from visiting.

In addition to modifying feeding schedules and meal selections, there are a few other strategies you can try to keep blackbirds at bay. These include:

  • Placing plastic owls or snakes near the feeder to mimic natural predators
  • Covering the seed with wire mesh to prevent larger birds from accessing it
  • Using specialized "caged" feeders designed for smaller birds only
  • Hanging reflective tape or streamers near the feeder to create movement and noise

By combining several different methods together, you will have a better chance of successfully deterring blackbirds from your bird feeder.

It’s important to remember that while employing deterrents can be helpful, sometimes it’s just not possible to completely eliminate all unwanted visitors from a backyard birdfeeder. In such cases Offering alternative food sources nearby (like planting berry bushes or leaving out fruit) can help divert their attention elsewhere and minimize competition for resources between species. This way everyone gets a fair share!

Offering Alternative Food Sources

As a bird enthusiast, you may be well aware of the importance of offering alternative food sources to keep blackbirds away from your bird feeder. One effective way to do this is by planting fruit trees in your yard. Blackbirds are attracted to fruits such as berries and cherries, so having these available can divert their attention away from your feeder.

Another option is to provide nesting boxes for other birds that blackbirds may see as competition. By giving them a safe place to nest and raise their young, they will be less likely to invade the space around your feeder. Additionally, providing water sources like birdbaths or small ponds can also help distract blackbirds from the feeder.

Creating ground feeding areas with seeds specifically targeted towards blackbirds can encourage them to feed elsewhere. This ensures they have access to food without causing any disturbance at the bird feeder. It’s important to note that certain seed blends attract specific types of birds, so it’s best to consult with an expert before choosing what type of seed mixtures you should use.

By implementing these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to offer alternative food sources for blackbirds while still attracting other species of birds. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to create a blackbird-free zone around your bird feeder using physical barriers and deterrents.

Creating A Blackbird-Free Zone

When it comes to creating a blackbird-free zone around your bird feeder, placement is key. Make sure to place your feeder away from tall trees or shrubs where blackbirds can easily perch and access the feeder. Next, consider using deterrents such as bird-proof feeders, rotating devices, and netting to prevent blackbirds from reaching the feeder. Finally, it’s important to keep your feeder clean and free of debris to discourage any unwanted visitors. By following these simple steps, you can easily create a blackbird-free zone around your bird feeder.

Feeder Placement

When it comes to keeping blackbirds away from your bird feeder, one key factor is where you place the feeder. The ideal height for a bird feeder is about 5-6 feet off the ground. This allows smaller birds easier access while making it more difficult for larger birds, like blackbirds, to perch and feed.

Another important consideration when placing your feeder is surrounding vegetation. Be sure to keep the area around your feeder clear of dense bushes or overhanging tree branches that could provide easy perches for blackbirds. Instead, choose an open area with low lying shrubs or grasses that are less attractive to these birds.

It’s also helpful to consider the type of feeder you’re using. Tube feeders tend to attract smaller birds and can be hung higher up without worry of attracting blackbirds. Platform feeders can be placed on poles at varying heights, allowing you to experiment with different placements until you find what works best in deterring blackbirds.

Remember that placement isn’t always foolproof, but by taking into account factors such as height and surrounding vegetation, you can create a feeding environment that discourages blackbirds from invading and monopolizing your bird feeder space.


Now that we’ve talked about how to place your bird feeder to discourage blackbirds, let’s move on to deterrents. There are a variety of natural remedies and DIY solutions you can use to keep blackbirds away from your feeder.

One effective method is using reflective surfaces around the feeder. This could be as simple as hanging CDs or other shiny objects near the feeding area. The flashes of light will startle the birds and make them less likely to return. Another option is using scare tactics like fake predators or distress calls played through speakers.

Using physical barriers such as netting or wire mesh can also prevent access for larger birds while still allowing smaller ones through. However, it’s important to ensure these barriers are safe and won’t harm any birds in the process.

It’s worth noting that not all deterrents work for every situation, so it may take some trial and error before finding what works best in your particular environment. By experimenting with different methods, you can create a space where both small birds and humans can enjoy watching feathered visitors without being overrun by pesky blackbirds.


Now that we’ve discussed some physical deterrents for blackbirds, let’s talk about the importance of maintaining cleanliness around your bird feeder. Preventing contamination is crucial in keeping birds healthy and disease-free.

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Regular cleaning of your bird feeder can prevent bacteria and mold from growing on leftover food or in standing water. This not only benefits small birds but also helps to discourage larger birds like blackbirds who are attracted to areas with a lot of waste.

To properly clean your feeder, start by removing any remaining seed or debris and scrubbing it down with hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before refilling with fresh seed.

In addition to regularly cleaning the feeder itself, it’s important to keep the surrounding area tidy as well. This includes raking up fallen seeds and hulls, as these can attract unwanted pests and promote bacterial growth. By taking these steps towards creating a consistently clean environment, you can help deter pesky blackbirds while creating a safe space for other feathered visitors.

Monitoring And Maintaining Your Bird Feeder

Now that you have set up your bird feeder, it is important to monitor and maintain it regularly. Cleaning frequency should be a top priority in order to prevent the spread of disease among birds. An uncleaned feeder can cause bacterial growth which could lead to illness or death for the feathered visitors.

In addition to cleaning, seed selection plays an important role in attracting desirable birds while deterring unwanted species such as blackbirds. It is recommended to use seeds specifically designed for certain types of birds, such as sunflower seeds for finches or millet for sparrows. This will not only attract more diverse species but also reduce competition at the feeder.

To further deter blackbirds from taking over your bird feeding station, consider implementing these four tips:

  1. Use feeders with smaller openings – Blackbirds prefer larger openings so choosing a feeder with smaller holes will make it difficult for them to access.
  2. Install baffles – Placing baffles above and beneath the feeder will create obstacles for blackbirds trying to land on the feeder.
  3. Choose selective foods – Avoid using food that blackbirds are particularly attracted to like corn or suet cakes.
  4. Offer alternative feeding options – Providing another source of food away from the primary feeding location may help distract blackbirds from monopolizing your main birdfeeder.

By following these steps, you can ensure a healthy environment for all visiting birds while keeping pesky blackbirds at bay without harming them in any way.

Remember, maintaining a clean and effective feeding area requires effort but ultimately leads to happy and thriving backyard wildlife!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Blackbirds Harm Other Birds At The Feeder?

As a wildlife expert, I can assure you that blackbirds are not known to harm other birds at the feeder. In fact, they generally exhibit social behavior and share food with their feathered friends. However, it’s important to note that each bird species has its own feeding techniques, and blackbirds tend to be more aggressive than others when it comes to securing their meals. This doesn’t mean they’re looking to start a fight – just that they know what they want and aren’t afraid to go for it. So don’t be too quick to judge these confident creatures!

Can I Use A Fake Owl Or Hawk To Scare Away Blackbirds?

Effective alternatives for deterring blackbirds from your bird feeder include the use of natural deterrents. While many suggest using fake owls or hawks to scare off these pesky birds, it is important to note that this method may not always be effective. Instead, try planting native plants and shrubs around the feeding area to create a barrier that discourages blackbirds from approaching. Additionally, placing shiny objects such as CDs or reflective tape near the feeder can also deter them. Other natural methods include using spicy repellents like cayenne pepper mixed with water and sprayed onto seeds or suet cakes. By utilizing these natural alternatives, you can keep blackbirds away while still maintaining a healthy and welcoming environment for other feathered friends at your bird feeder.

How Do I Prevent Squirrels From Getting Into My Bird Feeder?

To prevent squirrels from getting into your bird feeder, it is important to consider the placement of your bird feeder. Squirrels are expert climbers and jumpers, so avoid placing the feeder near any objects that could provide easy access for them. Also, investing in a squirrel proof feeder can be an effective solution. These feeders typically have mechanisms such as weight-sensitive perches or cages around the feeding ports that prevent squirrels from accessing the food inside. It’s important to regularly clean and maintain your feeder to ensure its effectiveness in keeping squirrels at bay. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy watching birds without having pesky squirrels stealing their food.

Is There A Specific Type Of Seed That Blackbirds Don’t Like?

Bird seed alternatives and natural methods are effective measures to prevent blackbirds from feeding on your bird feeder. While it is difficult to find a specific type of seed that blackbirds don’t like, you can try using safflower seeds or nyjer seeds instead of sunflower seeds as they seem less appealing to them. You may also use natural deterrents such as hanging shiny objects around the area or placing predator decoys in strategic locations. Additionally, keeping the ground beneath the feeders clean and free from spilled seeds will discourage blackbirds from visiting frequently. Remember, providing food for birds should not harm other species; so making sure that all creatures have access to resources is crucial for maintaining balance in nature.

Should I Stop Feeding Birds Altogether If Blackbirds Become A Problem?

As a wildlife enthusiast, I understand the frustration of dealing with pesky blackbirds at your bird feeder. However, it’s important to remember that birds play an essential role in our ecosystem, and we should strive to coexist peacefully with them. If blackbirds are becoming too much of a problem, consider exploring alternatives to bird feeders such as planting native plants or creating a water source for birds. Additionally, natural deterrents such as reflective tape or fake predators can help keep blackbirds at bay without harming them. Remember, every action we take has a ripple effect on the environment around us – let’s make sure it’s a positive one.


In conclusion, keeping blackbirds away from your bird feeder is possible with a few simple steps. While these birds may not harm other species at the feeder, their large size and aggressive behavior can make it difficult for smaller birds to access food. Using a fake owl or hawk may work temporarily, but blackbirds are intelligent creatures that will eventually catch on to the ruse.

One interesting statistic to note is that blackbirds are one of the most common backyard birds in North America, with an estimated population of over 200 million individuals. Despite their abundance, they can still be a nuisance at feeders. By using squirrel-proofing techniques and offering seeds that blackbirds don’t prefer, such as nyjer or safflower, you can enjoy watching a variety of feathered friends without having to deal with unwanted guests.

As a wildlife expert and bird specialist, I encourage all backyard bird enthusiasts to take proactive measures in creating a safe and welcoming environment for our avian neighbors. With some patience and persistence, we can find ways to coexist peacefully with all types of birds while enjoying the beauty they bring into our lives.

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