How To Keep Blackbirds Off Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Do you find yourself constantly refilling your bird feeders, only to see a flock of blackbirds descend upon them and devour all the seeds in one go? As much as we love seeing birds frequent our backyards, dealing with these pesky birds can be frustrating. However, fear not! With some simple methods, keeping blackbirds off your bird feeders is easily achievable.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why blackbirds are attracted to bird feeders in the first place. These birds are known for their omnivorous diet – they’ll eat just about anything that catches their eye. This includes both insects and plants like fruits and berries, but also human-provided food like bread crumbs or pet food left outside. Bird seed is no exception. While many other species of backyard birds prefer smaller-sized seeds found in typical birdseed mixes, blackbirds have no qualms about gorging on larger grains such as sunflower seeds or corn kernels commonly found in mixed bags sold at stores. So how exactly can we keep these feathered fiends away from our feathered friends’ meals?

Understanding The Behavior Of Blackbirds

Behold, the blackbird – a creature of dark feathers and piercing eyes. These birds are known for their high intelligence and remarkable adaptability in urban areas. As such, it’s no surprise that they’re frequent visitors to bird feeders across the country. However, their presence can be a source of frustration for many bird enthusiasts. To keep them at bay, we must first understand their behavior.

Blackbirds have complex migration patterns that differ depending on the species. Some travel great distances every year while others remain in one place all year round. During breeding season, blackbirds exhibit nesting behaviors unique to each species. For example, some build nests out of mud and grasses while others prefer twigs and leaves.

While blackbirds aren’t inherently aggressive towards other birds or humans, they can become territorial around food sources like bird feeders. This is especially true during winter months when natural food sources may be scarce. Blackbirds will often gather in large flocks near feeders, driving away smaller birds with their size and intimidating calls.

To deter blackbirds from your feeder, you’ll need to choose the right type of feeder and location. But before we delve into those details, let’s take a closer look at the features that make certain feeders more effective than others.

Choosing The Right Bird Feeders

To keep blackbirds off bird feeders, it’s important to choose the right type of feeder. Tube feeders with small perches are a great option as they make it difficult for larger birds like blackbirds to access the seeds. Additionally, platform feeders can be used but should have cages around them to prevent large birds from accessing the food.

Another factor in keeping blackbirds away is bird feeder placement. It’s best to place feeders at least 10 feet away from any bushes or trees where blackbirds may perch and wait for their opportunity to swoop in for a meal. This will also give smaller birds easier access to the food without being intimidated by larger birds.

Cleaning your bird feeder regularly is also important not just for hygiene but also to discourage unwanted visitors such as rats and other pests. Make sure you empty out any remaining seed before cleaning with soap and water. Allow it to dry completely before refilling with fresh seed.

Using these tips can help keep blackbirds off your bird feeders while still providing a welcoming environment for other feathered friends. Another alternative is using safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds which many birds do not prefer, including blackbirds. We’ll cover more about this topic in the next section.

Using Safflower Seeds Instead Of Sunflower Seeds

Safflower seeds are a great alternative to sunflower seeds when it comes to bird feeding. Blackbirds, who can be quite pesky at times, do not like the taste of safflower seeds and will generally leave them alone. However, other birds such as cardinals, chickadees, and titmice love these nutritious little morsels.

One of the benefits of using safflower seeds is that they have a high oil content which makes them very energy-dense for birds. This means that they provide more calories per seed than many other types of birdseed. Additionally, unlike sunflower seeds, safflowers don’t have shells so there’s less mess around your feeder!

If you’re looking to attract a wider variety of birds to your backyard habitat, then consider switching from sunflower to safflower seed. In addition to attracting blackbirds’ arch-nemesis – the squirrels – this type of seed also attracts finches, nuthatches and even mourning doves! With all these feathered friends flocking to your feeders, your backyard sanctuary will truly come alive.

So next time you’re heading out to buy some birdseed for your feeder, think about picking up some safflower seeds instead of (or in addition to) your usual choice. You’ll be doing yourself and your avian visitors a favor by providing them with delicious food while keeping away unwanted guests like blackbirds at the same time! And if you really want to go above and beyond for your feathered friends, stay tuned for our next section on how to install a squirrel baffle without breaking the bank.

Installing A Squirrel Baffle

As we’ve discussed, using safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds can deter blackbirds from bird feeders. However, sometimes that isn’t enough and a more physical solution is necessary. Installing a squirrel baffle can also work to keep blackbirds away.

DIY baffle construction is an option for those who want to save money or have specific design requirements. A simple DIY project involves creating a cone-shaped structure out of metal or plastic sheeting that will prevent birds and squirrels from climbing up the pole supporting your feeder. Placing the baffle at least 4 feet off the ground ensures blackbirds won’t be able to climb over it.

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When considering baffle placement techniques, it’s important to remember that distance matters. Ideally, you’ll want the top of the feeder to be at least 5 feet above any surrounding branches where birds could perch. This makes it harder for them to jump onto the feeder directly and easier for them to see if there are other feeding options available.

While keeping blackbirds off bird feeders is important, it’s also essential to provide alternative food sources for these native birds. Consider planting berry bushes or leaving fruit scraps in your yard as natural food sources. Additionally, offering multiple types of feeders with different seed blends can attract a variety of birds and reduce competition between species. By providing alternative food sources and implementing effective deterrents like DIY baffles, we can create a healthy ecosystem that benefits both humans and wildlife alike.

Providing Alternative Food Sources

Bird feeders are designed to attract a variety of avian species, but it is not uncommon for blackbirds to dominate the scene. However, there are ways to provide alternative food sources that will help reduce their presence at your bird feeders. One option is to offer seed mixtures that contain smaller seeds like millet and nyjer, which are less attractive to larger birds such as blackbirds. This way, you can still enjoy watching other songbirds without attracting unwanted visitors.

Another great method is providing fruit offerings. Blackbirds love fruits such as berries, so by offering them elsewhere in your yard or garden, they may be more inclined to leave your bird feeder alone. You can place fresh fruits on low-lying branches or even scatter some on the ground near shrubs and bushes where blackbirds tend to congregate.

It’s important to note that while these alternative food sources may deter blackbirds from monopolizing your bird feeder, they should not replace regular cleaning and maintenance of the feeder itself. Keeping your feeder clean and free of mold and bacteria will also discourage unwanted guests from frequenting it.

By providing alternative food sources such as seed mixtures and fruits away from your bird feeder, you can create a balanced environment for all types of birds while minimizing disruptions caused by aggressive species like blackbirds.

Transition: While offering alternative food sources is an effective approach, sometimes it may not be enough. In these cases, using physical barriers can be another useful step in preventing blackbird dominance at bird feeders.

Using Physical Barriers

Providing alternative food sources is a great way to keep blackbirds off bird feeders. These birds are naturally attracted to easy-to-reach food, so if you provide them an easily accessible source of their own, they will be less likely to go after your feeder. Scatter some fruit or insects on the ground for them at least 10 feet away from the feeder.

Using physical barriers is another effective method in keeping blackbirds off bird feeders. You can install specific types of feeders that exclude larger birds by using cages or mesh netting around it as well as adding baffles above and below it. This prevents any unwanted avian visitors while still allowing smaller songbirds access to the feeder.

If DIY solutions are not enough, professional services may also help solve this problem. There are companies specializing in pest control that offer humane ways of deterring blackbirds such as installing spikes or nets over roofs and other areas where birds tend to roost.

Lastly, creating a noise distraction can make blackbirds feel uncomfortable when coming near your property. Loud noises like clapping hands or banging pots together create unpredictable movement which scares these sensitive creatures away without harming them.

With these methods combined, you can effectively keep blackbirds from raiding your bird feeders while still being kind to nature’s feathered friends!

Creating A Noise Distraction

Like a symphony conductor, we can use white noise to redirect the attention of blackbirds away from bird feeders. This technique requires no physical barriers and is ideal for those who enjoy watching birds visit their backyard. White noise refers to sounds that mask other noises, and it works by disrupting the sound environment. It’s an effective method because blackbirds are sensitive to sudden changes in sound.

To create this distraction, you can play white noise through speakers or place them near your bird feeder area. You can also try using visual deterrents such as shiny objects like CDs hanging on strings around the feeding area or scarecrows that mimic predators. These items will catch the eye of blackbirds and make them think twice about approaching the feeder.

As with any bird management strategy, consistency is crucial when using noise distractions and visual deterrents. If you stop playing white noise or remove visual deterrents after a few days, blackbirds may quickly return to your feeders. To ensure success, we recommend keeping these techniques active until blackbirds learn not to associate your yard with food sources.

Remember that even though blackbirds may be bothersome at times, they’re still fascinating creatures worthy of our admiration. By finding ways to coexist peacefully with wildlife, we contribute positively towards conservation efforts while enjoying nature’s beauty right in our own backyards!

Consistency Is Key

Creating a Noise Distraction can be effective in keeping blackbirds off bird feeders. However, it is important to note that this method may not work for all situations. Some birds may become accustomed to the noise and continue to visit the feeder despite the distraction.

To truly keep blackbirds away from your feeder, Consistency is Key. This means consistently using various methods such as creating a noise distraction or physically deterring them with barriers. By being consistent, you send a clear message to the blackbirds that they are not welcome at your feeder.

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Another helpful tool in preventing blackbird visits is implementing a Reward system. Place food sources nearby that will attract blackbirds away from your feeder, such as fruit trees or berry bushes. This rewards their natural tendencies while also keeping them away from your other bird feeding stations.

Time management is also essential when trying to prevent blackbird visits. Try setting specific times during the day when you refill the bird feeder so that it doesn’t sit full for too long, attracting more unwanted visitors.

By following these techniques of consistency and time management along with incorporating reward systems and deterrents like noise makers or physical barriers, you’ll have greater success in keeping those pesky blackbirds away from your bird feeders. It’s important to remember that each situation may require different tactics but by staying vigilant and proactive about protecting your feathered friends, you can enjoy watching them without having to share their mealtime with uninvited guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Other Types Of Birds Might Be Affected By The Measures Taken To Keep Blackbirds Off Feeders?

As avid bird watchers, we must always consider the potential unintended consequences of our actions. Other bird species may be affected by measures taken to keep blackbirds off feeders. While it is important to protect our beloved feeders and ensure the survival of certain species, we must also remember that all birds play an integral role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. As ornithological educators, it is our duty to spread awareness about the delicate balance of nature and encourage responsible practices when interacting with wildlife.

Are There Any Natural Or Homemade Remedies To Deter Blackbirds?

When it comes to deterring certain feathered visitors from your bird feeder, there are a variety of DIY solutions available. Bird repellent can be made with simple household ingredients like vinegar and water or even using natural herbs such as lavender or peppermint. These homemade remedies can help keep birds at bay without harming them in any way. While some may prefer store-bought options, others find that these gentle, eco-friendly methods offer an effective alternative for keeping their feeders free from unwanted guests. So why not try out a few of these easy-to-make concoctions and see which works best for your avian friends?

Will Using A Specific Type Of Bird Feeder Also Keep Squirrels Away?

Squirrel proof feeders have gained immense popularity due to their effectiveness in keeping squirrels away from bird food. These feeders are designed with features that make it difficult for squirrels to access the seeds, such as baffles or cages. However, it’s important to note that not all squirrel proof feeders are created equal and some may still allow determined squirrels to find a way in. Additionally, using decoys can also be effective in deterring squirrels from approaching the feeder area. While there is no foolproof method, utilizing both squirrel proof feeders and decoys may increase your chances of successfully keeping squirrels at bay.

Is It Possible To Attract Blackbirds To A Different Area Of The Garden?

Attracting alternatives to blackbirds in your garden may seem like an insurmountable task, but fear not! With a little knowledge of blackbird behavior and some strategic planning, it is possible to redirect their attention elsewhere. Consider incorporating bird-friendly plants and shrubs that are known to attract alternative species such as finches or sparrows. You can also try providing food sources away from your main feeding area to distract the birds. While this may sound challenging, with persistence and patience you’ll soon have a diverse range of feathered friends enjoying your garden oasis.

Can Blackbirds Cause Damage To Other Areas Of The Garden Or Property?

Blackbirds are known for their inquisitive and curious behavior, which can sometimes lead them to explore other areas of the garden or even property. While they may not intentionally cause damage, their feeding habits can disrupt plant beds and leave unsightly droppings on outdoor surfaces. To prevent blackbirds from causing any unwanted disturbances, it’s important to take preventative measures such as installing bird netting over vulnerable plants or using reflective tape to deter them from landing in certain areas. By being proactive in managing blackbird behavior, you can enjoy a harmonious coexistence with these fascinating creatures while also protecting your property.


In conclusion, keeping blackbirds off bird feeders can be a challenge for any bird enthusiast. However, it is important to consider the impact that these measures may have on other types of birds. While there are natural and homemade remedies available to deter blackbirds, it is also possible to use specific types of bird feeders that will keep squirrels away as well.

If you want to attract blackbirds to another area of your garden, consider providing them with their own feeding station or planting fruit-bearing trees or bushes nearby. It’s essential to remember that while blackbirds can cause damage in some areas of the garden or property, they are still an essential part of our ecosystem.

Just like all birds, blackbirds play a crucial role in maintaining balance within nature. As ornithological writers/educators, we must remind ourselves of this fact and strive for solutions that not only benefit us but also preserve the diverse array of species around us. So let’s think outside the box and find ways to coexist with these beautiful creatures – after all, they’re just trying to survive like everyone else! As one famous writer once said: "Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?"

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