How To Keep Doves Away From Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of doves monopolizing your bird feeder and scaring away other birds? As a wildlife and pest control expert, I understand how frustrating it can be to see these feathered creatures taking over. Doves are known for their large appetites and will stop at nothing to get to the food in your feeder.

However, fear not! There are several effective ways to keep doves away from your bird feeder without harming them or any other birds. By implementing some simple strategies, you can ensure that all species visiting your bird feeder have an equal chance at enjoying the delicious treats you provide. So let’s dive into some tried-and-true methods for keeping those pesky doves at bay!

Understanding Dove Behavior

Have you ever found yourself frustrated by doves constantly monopolizing your bird feeder? It’s a common issue for backyard bird enthusiasts, but before we can discuss how to keep them away, let’s first understand their behavior.

Dove nesting habits are an important factor in why they may be attracted to your feeder. Doves typically build nests close to food sources and will return repeatedly if they find a reliable source of food nearby. This means that once doves have discovered your bird feeder, it may be difficult to discourage them from returning.

Another aspect of dove behavior is their feeding preferences. Doves are ground-feeding birds and prefer seeds such as millet, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. They are not particularly fond of hanging feeders or suet blocks which makes these types of feeders less attractive to them. Keep this in mind when looking for ways to deter doves from your bird feeder.

It’s also essential to remember that doves are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so any methods used to deter them must not harm or injure the birds in any way. Now that we’ve established some basic facts about dove behavior let’s move on to choosing the right type of feeder that will minimize dove activity while still attracting other desired species.

By selecting the appropriate style and location of feeder, you can greatly reduce visits from doves without sacrificing enjoyment of watching our feathered friends dine at your station.

Choosing The Right Type Of Feeder

Understanding dove behavior is important in keeping them away from your bird feeder. Doves are ground feeders and prefer to eat seeds that have fallen on the ground, making it necessary to choose the right type of feeder. Hanging feeders can be a good option since they keep the food off the ground.

Feeder designs play an essential role in deterring doves from accessing your birdseed. Avoid using hopper or platform-style feeders as these provide easy access for doves to perch and feast on the seed. Instead, use tube-style feeders with small perches located above the feeding ports or those with weight-activated doors that close when heavier birds land on them.

Seed types also matter when trying to keep doves at bay. Choose blends that contain smaller seeds such as millet, nyjer, and flaxseeds instead of sunflower seeds which attract larger species like doves and squirrels. Additionally, adding safflower seeds into your blend will help deter unwanted birds while still attracting desirable ones like finches.

Adjusting feeder placement can also aid in reducing dove activity around your bird feeder. Place hanging feeders high enough so that doves cannot reach them but ensure there is ample space between surrounding trees and shrubs where they could perch before jumping onto the feeder. If possible, place baffles above or below the feeder’s location to make it more difficult for doves to access it.

By understanding dove behavior, choosing appropriate feeder designs, utilizing specific seed types, and adjusting feeder placement accordingly, you can successfully prevent doves from raiding your birdseed supply without harming them or other desirable backyard visitors.

Adjusting Feeder Placement

Just like a skilled dancer adjusts their steps to stay in sync with the rhythm of music, adjusting your bird feeder placement could keep doves away. Placing feeders near trees or shrubs can give them an easy landing spot and encourage them to stick around. If you want to discourage doves from visiting your bird feeder, then consider changing its location.

Feeder height is crucial when it comes to keeping doves off your bird feeder. Doves are ground-feeding birds that prefer feeding on flat surfaces rather than perching high up. By placing the birdfeeder at higher elevations, such as hanging it six feet above the ground, this will reduce the possibility of doves eating there.

Another way to deter doves is by increasing the distance between their preferred hang out spots and your birdfeeder. This means moving it farther away from areas where they usually rest during hot afternoons or cold mornings. An ideal distance range would be about 10-15 feet from any tree branches or other potential perches that might attract these birds.

By making use of both techniques mentioned above – raising your feeder’s height and increasing its distance from surrounding vegetation – you’ll create a more challenging environment for doves trying to access food sources. The table below shows different heights and distances recommended for deterring doves:

Distance (ft) Height Above Ground (ft)
5-7 6-8
8-10 9-11
>12 >12

Implementing these strategies will ensure fewer visits by pesky doves while still providing plenty of opportunities for songbirds to enjoy your backyard habitat without disturbance! In the next section, we’ll discuss using squirrel-proofing techniques that could further protect your birdfeeders against unwanted guests.

Using Squirrel-Proofing Techniques

Now that we have covered dove deterrents, let’s move on to feeder modifications. One effective way to keep doves away from your bird feeder is by using a squirrel-proofing technique. Squirrel baffles can be added to the pole of your bird feeder to prevent squirrels and larger birds, like doves, from accessing it. These baffles work by creating an obstacle that they cannot climb over or around.

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Another modification you can make is changing the type of bird feeder you use. Doves prefer platform feeders where they can easily access food with their feet. Switching to a tube-style feeder with smaller perches will discourage them from visiting as they are not able to comfortably perch on these types of feeders.

It’s also important to consider the placement of your feeder. Try moving it further away from trees or other surfaces that doves could jump off of onto the feeder. Placing it in an open area without any nearby perching spots will also help deter them.

By implementing these modifications, you should see a decrease in doves visiting your bird feeder and more visits from smaller songbirds instead.

As we continue our efforts in keeping doves away from our bird feeders, providing alternative food sources for them can also help alleviate the problem.

Providing Alternative Food Sources

One effective way to keep doves away from your bird feeder is by providing alternative food sources. By doing so, you can redirect their attention and help minimize the competition for your birdseed.

Firstly, consider offering seed varieties that are less appealing to doves but still attractive to other birds. Safflower seeds, for example, are known to be unpopular with doves but loved by finches and cardinals. You may also want to avoid using millet or cracked corn as these tend to attract larger birds like pigeons and doves.

Secondly, timing of feeding plays a crucial role in deterring doves from raiding your bird feeder. Doves usually feed during the day while most songbirds prefer mornings and evenings. To avoid attracting more doves than desired, it’s best to fill up your feeder early in the morning when few doves are around.

Thirdly, create a separate feeding station specifically for doves on the ground away from your main bird feeder. This will give them an exclusive spot where they can enjoy their own treats without disturbing other birds at the feeder above.

Lastly, try incorporating different types of feeders such as tube feeders or suet cages into your backyard ensemble. These specialized feeders cater more towards certain species of birds which could potentially deter pesky doves from accessing all parts of the garden.

To further prevent unwanted visitors like squirrels or larger birds from stealing all the goodies within reach, installing a physical barrier is essential.

Installing A Physical Barrier

Just like how a mother bird protects her young from predators, we too need to safeguard our feathered friends’ feeding spot. Providing alternative food sources and installing physical barriers are two effective ways of keeping doves away from your bird feeder.

DIY solutions can be an excellent way to keep doves at bay without breaking the bank. One such solution is using reflective tape around your bird feeder. The sunlight reflecting off the tape creates a glare that disorients doves and deters them from coming near the area. Another easy-to-implement DIY method involves attaching pinwheels or wind chimes nearby, making it difficult for doves to perch comfortably while eating.

However, if you’re looking for something more permanent and reliable, professional installation of physical barriers might be your best bet. Bird netting installed over the feeder helps prevent larger birds like pigeons and doves from landing on it while still allowing smaller birds access to feed in peace. Alternatively, placing thorny branches around the feeding area also discourages unwanted visitors as they cannot land safely anywhere close by.

While these methods work well during daylight hours when most birds feed, what about after dark? Using sound deterrents is another option worth considering – particularly useful when other methods fail to yield results. Stay tuned for our next section where we’ll dive into this topic further!

Using Sound Deterrents

One effective way to keep doves away from your bird feeder is through the use of sound deterrents. This method works on the principle that doves are creatures of habit and will avoid areas where they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Understanding dove psychology is essential when using sound deterrents. These birds are highly sensitive to noise, which can cause them stress and anxiety. As a result, it’s crucial to choose sounds that are not only loud but also unpleasant for the birds.

Noise harassment is one type of sound deterrent that has proven effective against doves. It involves playing high-pitched, erratic noises at regular intervals throughout the day. The sudden bursts of sound disrupt the peace and quiet that doves seek out, causing them to leave the area in search of calmer surroundings.

Implementing noise harassment as part of your strategy requires careful planning. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a device with adjustable volume settings
  • Vary the frequency and duration of each burst of sound
  • Use different types of sounds to prevent habituation

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to create an unpredictable environment that keeps doves guessing and ultimately drives them away from your bird feeder.

As effective as this method may be, it’s important to remember that no single solution will work indefinitely. Monitoring and adjusting your strategy regularly will help ensure long-term success in keeping doves away from your bird feeder.

Monitoring And Adjusting Your Strategy

As we discussed in the previous section, using sound deterrents is a great way to keep doves away from your bird feeder. However, this method may not always work as expected and you may need to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Tracking progress is essential when implementing any pest control strategy. It’s important to monitor how effective your current methods are at deterring doves and make changes if needed. For example, if you notice that the doves are still coming around despite the sound deterrents, you may want to try adding visual deterrents such as reflective tape or hanging shiny objects nearby.

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In some cases, seeking expert help may be necessary. A wildlife and pest control professional can provide valuable advice on how to effectively deter doves without harming them or other birds in the area. They can also offer solutions tailored specifically to your situation and environment.

Remember, keeping doves away from your bird feeder requires patience and persistence. By tracking progress and adjusting your strategy as needed while seeking expert help when necessary, you’ll ultimately find success in creating a peaceful feeding space for all of your feathered friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Fake Owl To Scare Doves Away From My Bird Feeder?

Using a fake owl as a scare tactic to keep doves away from your bird feeder can be effective, but it’s not always foolproof. Doves are intelligent birds and may quickly realize that the predator is not real. Additionally, using a fake owl as the sole method of deterrence can become ineffective over time as the doves grow accustomed to its presence. As an alternative, consider utilizing various scarecrows or decoys in addition to the fake owl to create a more dynamic deterrent system. It’s important to regularly switch up these tactics to ensure continued effectiveness in keeping doves away from your bird feeder.

Do Doves Scare Away Other Birds From The Feeder?

Doves are a common sight at bird feeders but their presence can have varying effects on the feeder’s ecosystem. While doves themselves are not aggressive towards other birds, their large size and tendency to monopolize food sources may discourage smaller bird species from accessing the feeder. However, there are strategies that can be employed to attract diverse bird species despite the presence of doves. Providing a variety of foods such as suet, nectar, and seeds in different feeders can accommodate different feeding preferences of various bird species. Additionally, placing the feeder near trees or shrubs can offer cover for smaller birds while still allowing larger ones like doves access to the food source. By implementing these strategies, one can create an environment where multiple bird species coexist harmoniously around your feeder.

Will Changing The Type Of Birdseed I Use Deter Doves From Coming To The Feeder?

As a wildlife and pest control expert, I’ve found that changing up the type of birdseed you use is an effective way to deter doves from flocking to your feeder. Think of it like offering guests at a party only one type of snack – some may enjoy it, but others will quickly lose interest. Experiment with different varieties until you find one that appeals more to other birds than doves. Another option would be to install physical barriers around the feeder, such as wire cages or spikes on nearby branches, making it difficult for larger birds like doves to access the food source. By implementing these tactics, you can create a space where all types of birds feel welcome while keeping pesky doves at bay.

Can I Use A Water Feature Near The Feeder To Deter Doves?

Using a water feature near your bird feeder can certainly have benefits beyond just deterring doves. In fact, many wildlife enthusiasts choose to incorporate them into their gardens as they attract all manner of birds and insects which can create a rich ecosystem in your backyard. When it comes to doves, however, there’s been some interesting behavior analysis that suggests they may be less likely to frequent an area where there is running water or a pond nearby. This could be because they feel more exposed while drinking from these sources with the added noise and movement around them making them feel vulnerable to predators. So not only will you enjoy the calming sounds of trickling water but also potentially deter unwanted visitors at the same time!

How Do I Safely Trap And Relocate Doves That Are Causing Problems At My Bird Feeder?

If you’re dealing with doves causing issues at your bird feeder, trapping and relocating them may seem like a viable solution. However, it’s important to use humane and ethical methods when doing so. There are various trapping techniques available, but it’s crucial to ensure that the traps used are safe for both the dove and any other animals in the area. Once captured, consider relocation options such as releasing the dove in a nearby wooded area or contacting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. It’s essential to remember that trapping and relocating should be a last resort, and preventative measures should be taken first to deter doves from accessing the feeder.


In conclusion, keeping doves away from your bird feeder can be a challenge, but there are several strategies you can employ. While a fake owl may seem like a good idea, it may not be effective in the long run as doves can become accustomed to its presence. Additionally, while doves may scare other birds away from the feeder temporarily, they typically won’t stay for very long.

Changing the type of birdseed you use is also unlikely to deter doves as they tend to eat just about anything. A water feature near the feeder may help by providing an alternative source of hydration for the birds and distracting them from the seed. Finally, if trapping and relocating doves becomes necessary, it’s important to do so safely and humanely.

As a wildlife and pest control expert, I recommend trying a combination of these methods until you find what works best for your specific situation. Remember that patience and persistence are key when dealing with any kind of animal behavior issue. With some effort and creativity, you can keep those pesky doves at bay and enjoy watching all kinds of feathered friends enjoying your feeder.

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