How To Keep Doves Off Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Hey there, bird lovers! If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve had some trouble keeping doves away from your bird feeders. Don’t worry – it’s a common problem that can be easily solved with a few simple tactics. As an expert in bird control, I’m here to guide you through the steps of how to keep these pesky birds from hogging all the food.

First off, let’s talk about why doves might be attracted to your bird feeder in the first place. Unlike other birds who prefer seeds or suet, doves are more likely to go for grains and nuts. So if your feeder contains any kind of mix that includes those ingredients, expect them to show up in droves (pun intended). Additionally, doves are ground feeders by nature and may feel more comfortable feeding on the ground rather than at higher elevations like most traditional bird feeders provide. But don’t fret – with a little bit of know-how and effort, we can make sure everyone gets their fair share of snacks without having to constantly shoo away our feathered friends.

Understanding Doves’ Feeding Habits

Doves are a common sight in many backyards, and they can be quite pesky when it comes to bird feeders. Understanding their feeding preferences is key to keeping them away from your feeder. Doves prefer eating seeds that are scattered on the ground rather than those found in elevated feeders. This means that if you have a traditional hanging or pole-mounted feeder, doves may not be your biggest worry.

However, if you scatter seed on the ground for other birds such as sparrows and juncos, then doves will likely join in too. Additionally, doves tend to eat during the day while most songbirds are active at dawn and dusk. If possible, try setting out food during times of the day when fewer doves are around.

Another factor to consider is flock behavior. Doves typically travel in groups and feed together on the ground. If one dove finds its way to your yard and discovers easy access to food, it won’t be long before others follow suit. To prevent this scenario from happening, avoid scattering large amounts of seed all at once.

Understanding these nuances about doves’ feeding habits can help you keep them off your bird feeders successfully. However, choosing the right feeder design is also essential for deterring these persistent birds.

Choosing The Right Feeder Design

After understanding the feeding habits of doves, it’s time to choose the right feeder design that will keep them off. But before we delve into choosing a specific design, let’s ask ourselves this: What makes a good dove-proof bird feeder? A good dove-proof bird feeder should be designed to exclude larger birds like pigeons and doves while allowing smaller birds free access to food.

When selecting a feeder material, opt for metal or plastic as they are durable and easy to clean. Avoid wooden feeders as they may rot over time, making them more susceptible to damage by birds’ sharp claws. Additionally, consider investing in deterrent coatings such as powder coating or vinyl dip coatings that make it difficult for doves to land on surfaces without slipping.

Now that we’ve covered materials and coatings let’s discuss the different types of feeders available that have been proven effective at keeping doves away. Here is a list of four tried-and-true designs:

  1. Caged Feeders – These feature wire mesh cages around the feeding ports which prevent larger birds from accessing seeds.
  2. Weight-Sensitive Feeders – These close off feeding ports when heavier animals (like squirrels, raccoons, and large birds) attempt to use them.
  3. Tube Feeders with Short Perches – Doves prefer perching on flat surfaces rather than thin ones where their feet can become unsteady.
  4. Squirrel-Proof Feeders – Although not directly aimed at deterring doves these feeders often come with mechanisms that block off seed access once triggered by heavyweights.

By using one or several of these options together with our recommended Feeder Material and Deterrent Coatings advice above, you’ll effectively keep pesky doves away from your birdseed supply! However, suppose you’re still experiencing issues despite incorporating all previous measures mentioned here today. In that case, adjusting your feeder height and placement could be an additional step you can take to increase effectiveness.

Adjusting Feeder Height And Placement

I recommend adjusting feeder height to keep doves off, as they tend to prefer higher perches. Similarly, you should adjust feeder placement, by keeping it away from trees, reducing its attractiveness and changing its design or adding a cover. You should also increase the distance between your house and the feeder, and relocate it to a more open area, such as hanging it from a pole. Installing feeder guards, providing alternate food sources, placing the feeder on a platform and moving it regularly are also effective deterrents.

Adjust Feeder Height

As a bird control expert, I highly recommend adjusting feeder height to deter doves from accessing your bird feeders. Feeder accessibility plays an essential role in preventing unwanted birds from feasting on the seeds intended for other species. Doves are known ground feeders and prefer feeding off of low platforms or trays. Therefore, by elevating your bird feeder at least four feet high, you can restrict their access.

It is also good practice to avoid placing your bird feeder near any structures that could help doves reach it, such as trees, fences, or walls. By doing so, you reduce the chances of them hopping onto the feeder from adjacent surfaces. Additionally, consider switching to hanging feeders rather than platform ones as they tend to be more challenging for doves to land on.

When adjusting the height of your bird feeder, ensure that it still remains accessible enough for smaller birds like finches and sparrows. Placing a baffle below the feeder may also help prevent larger birds from reaching it while allowing small birds easy access. This way, all feathered friends get to enjoy their meals without being disturbed.

In conclusion, keeping doves away from bird feeders requires making adjustments to both height and placement. By raising your bird feeder above dove-friendly heights and avoiding nearby jumping points, you can effectively discourage these ground-feeding birds from taking over your feeders’ contents.

Adjust Feeder Placement

Adjusting feeder height is a crucial step in deterring doves from accessing your bird feeders. However, it’s not the only factor that affects their feeding habits. Another essential aspect to consider is feeder placement. Feeder accessibility and nearby distractions can also influence which birds come to feast on your seeds.

When positioning your bird feeder, bear in mind any surrounding structures that could aid doves’ access to them. For instance, avoid placing your feeder near trees or walls as they provide an easy jumping point for these ground-feeding birds. Instead, opt for open spaces where large birds won’t have anything close enough to hop onto the feeders.

Moreover, pay attention to other potential distractions such as birdbaths or fountains. These water sources attract a wide range of avian species and may lure unwanted visitors towards your bird feeders too. By keeping your feeders at least ten feet away from water sources, you create distance between the two and reduce the odds of doves joining in.

Lastly, be mindful of how visible your bird feeder is from different angles. If placed against windows or doors with glass panes, it might reflect light making it more prominent and thus attracting larger numbers of birds than intended. When possible, position feeders out of direct sunlight and move them further away from reflective surfaces.

In summary, adjusting feeder placement plays an equally important role in preventing doves from taking over bird feeders along with adjusting their height. By avoiding nearby distractions like trees and water sources while ensuring adequate visibility control, we can maintain our feathered friends’ mealtime without interruption by pesky intruders like doves.

Keep Feeders Away From Trees

As a bird control expert, it’s essential to consider all the factors that affect birds’ feeding habits when placing your feeder. One crucial aspect to bear in mind is the location of nearby trees. Trees provide an easy jumping point for ground-feeding birds like doves, making them more likely to access your bird feeders. Therefore, establishing tree-free feeding areas can help deter these pesky intruders.

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When selecting an area for your bird feeder, make sure there are no trees close enough for birds to jump onto them and then hop onto the feeder from there. A good rule of thumb is to place the feeder at least ten feet away from any surrounding structures or vegetation that could aid their access.

By keeping feeders away from trees, you prevent larger birds like doves from using them as launch pads to reach the food source. This way, smaller birds get ample opportunity to eat without competition from bigger ones. Moreover, this also reduces the number of droppings beneath the feeders since doves tend to be messier eaters than other species.

Remember that adjusting feeder height alone may not always suffice in deterring doves from accessing your bird feeders; placement plays an equally important role too. By choosing tree-free locations for setting up feeding stations while considering other distractions such as water sources and reflective surfaces, we can maintain our feathered friends’ mealtime without interruption by unwanted visitors like doves.

Using A Baffle To Deter Doves

Baffles are an effective tool for keeping doves off bird feeders. These devices work by creating a physical barrier that prevents the birds from landing on or near the feeder. Baffles can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.

When choosing baffle materials, it’s important to consider durability and weather-resistance. Metal baffles tend to be the most durable option, but they may require regular maintenance to prevent rusting. Plastic and wooden baffles can also be effective, but they may not hold up as well in harsh weather conditions.

Installation tips for baffles vary depending on the type of feeder you have and the location where it is installed. Generally speaking, however, baffles should be placed above the feeder to prevent birds from accessing it from above. The baffle should also extend several inches beyond the edge of the feeder to ensure that birds cannot reach around it.

By using a baffle in conjunction with other bird control methods like switching to dove-proof foods, homeowners can effectively deter these pesky birds while still enjoying all of the benefits of backyard bird feeding. With proper installation and high-quality materials, a baffle can provide long-term protection against doves and other unwanted visitors at your bird feeder site.

Switching To Dove-Proof Foods

I recommend switching to bird seed blends that are designed to be dove-proof. Sunflower seeds are a common ingredient in these blends, but make sure they are hulled and not shelled – doves can easily crack open the shells! If you don’t want to purchase a blend, sunflower seeds without shells are also an effective deterrent for doves. This is because doves lack the strength to crack them open and therefore will not be able to access the food.

Bird Seed Blends

Hey there, bird lovers! Are your feeders constantly being overrun by pesky doves? Fear not, because I’m here to share some tips on how to keep these birds away. One effective method is switching to dove-proof foods, specifically nutritious blends that cater to the feeding preferences of other birds.

When it comes to selecting a bird seed blend, it’s important to choose one that is high in nutrients and free from fillers like milo or wheat. This ensures that the birds are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health. Additionally, different species have varied feeding habits and preferences which should be taken into account when choosing a blend.

For example, if you’re looking to attract finches and sparrows while deterring doves, opt for blends with smaller seeds such as Nyjer or sunflower hearts. These types of seeds are less appealing to larger birds like doves who prefer bigger and more substantial meals. Alternatively, black oil sunflower seeds are a great all-around choice as they provide both nutrition and appeal to a wide range of bird species.

It’s also worth noting that simply changing up the type of food in your feeder won’t necessarily solve the problem overnight. It may take some time for birds’ feeding patterns to adjust, so don’t get discouraged if you still see some unwanted guests at first. With patience and persistence, however, you’ll start seeing fewer doves and more desirable feathered friends visiting your yard in no time!

In conclusion (oops!), making the switch to nutritious bird seed blends can be an effective way to deter doves from taking over your feeders. By understanding each species’ unique feeding preferences and opting for quality ingredients, you’ll create an environment that attracts the right kind of birds while keeping those pesky doves at bay.

Sunflower Seeds

If you’re looking for a bird seed blend that will keep doves away, consider incorporating sunflower seeds into your feeder. Sunflower seeds are an excellent choice because they provide both nutrition and appeal to a wide range of bird species. This means that by offering sunflower seeds, you can attract the birds you want while deterring those pesky doves.

When selecting sunflower seeds for your feeder, opt for black oil varieties. These types of sunflowers have thin shells that are easy for smaller birds to crack open, making them an ideal choice for attracting finches and other small songbirds. Additionally, many larger birds like doves find these thinner-shelled varieties less appealing than their thicker-shelled counterparts.

It’s also worth noting that when feeding sunflower seeds, it’s important to offer them in moderation. While high in nutrients, these seeds are also fairly high in fat which can be detrimental to some bird species’ health if consumed excessively. As with any type of bird food, monitor how much is being consumed and adjust accordingly.

In conclusion (oops!), incorporating sunflower seeds into your feeder can be an effective way to switch to dove-proof foods without sacrificing nutrition or variety. By understanding each species’ unique feeding behavior and opting for quality ingredients like black oil sunflowers, you’ll create an environment that attracts desirable feathered friends while keeping unwanted guests at bay.

Creating A Separate Feeding Station For Doves

As the old saying goes, "if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em." Instead of trying to keep doves away from your bird feeders altogether, consider creating a separate feeding station just for them. Not only will this give them their own space to enjoy without bothering other birds at the main feeder, but it may also attract other bird species that are not interested in competing with doves.

To create a separate feeding station for doves, there are various DIY solutions you can choose from depending on your preferences and resources. One option is to use an elevated platform or tray feeder specifically designed for ground-feeding birds like doves. You could also repurpose an old hanging basket by filling it with seed and placing it on a sturdy pole or shepherd’s hook low enough for doves to reach.

When choosing the location for your dove feeding station, make sure it is far enough away from your main bird feeder so as not to cause any territorial disputes between different bird species. It should also be easily accessible for doves but protected from potential predators such as cats or squirrels.

Creating a separate feeding station for doves not only benefits these peaceful birds but also provides an opportunity to attract other unique avian visitors to your backyard. With some creativity and attention to detail, you can design a welcoming environment that meets the needs of all feathered friends who visit your yard. In the next section, we’ll explore implementing scare tactics as another way to deter unwanted guests without harming any birds.

Implementing Scare Tactics

Scare tactics are a highly effective way of keeping doves off bird feeders. Fake predators, such as plastic owls or snakes, can be placed near the feeder to give the impression that there is danger nearby. This will deter doves from coming close and attempting to feed.

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Noise makers are another great option for deterring doves. Devices that emit loud sounds at regular intervals can be installed around the feeder area. The sudden noises will startle the birds and make them hesitant to come back again.

Visual deterrents are also useful when it comes to scaring away doves. Hanging shiny objects like CDs or aluminum foil strips around the feeding area can create an unappealing environment for doves. Additionally, moving objects like pinwheels or wind chimes can help to create a sense of unease for these birds.

Another tactic is using motion-activated sprinklers which spray water whenever they detect movement in their vicinity. These devices not only scare away doves but also other unwanted visitors who may approach your bird feeder.

By utilizing various scare tactics, you can effectively keep doves off your bird feeders without causing any harm to them. Remember that while it’s important to protect our feathered friends, it’s equally vital to embrace coexistence with all creatures great and small.

Embracing Coexistence With Doves

So, you’re having trouble with doves on your bird feeders? Well, don’t worry my feathered friend! As a self-proclaimed bird control expert, I am here to help. And let me tell you, the solution is not as simple as just shooing them away.

First and foremost, we must embrace peaceful coexistence with these gentle birds. Doves are known for their calm demeanor and soothing coos – why wouldn’t we want them around? Instead of seeing them as pests, let’s learn to appreciate their presence in our backyard oasis.

But how can we ensure that our other feathered friends still get a chance at the feeder buffet? The answer lies in bird feeder diversity. By providing different types of feeders with varying seed sizes and feeding mechanisms, we can cater to the unique preferences of all our winged visitors. This will also prevent any one type of bird from dominating the feeding area.

It’s important to understand dove behavior when trying to promote nature’s harmony. For example, did you know that they prefer to eat on flat surfaces rather than hanging feeders? By adding some low trays or platforms near your existing feeders, you can give doves their own designated eating spot while keeping other birds happy up high.

Remember, it’s all about finding balance in our outdoor spaces. With a little patience and creativity, we can create a welcoming environment for both doves and other songbirds alike. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the symphony of chirps and coos outside your window – after all, isn’t that what feeding birds is all about?

Let us continue fostering a harmonious relationship among our backyard dwellers by embracing diversity in feeding stations. We have so much more to explore in terms of creating an inclusive space for all the winged creatures who grace us with their presence daily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Using A Bird Feeder With Smaller Openings Deter Doves From Feeding?

As a bird control expert, it’s important to understand the behavior of doves and their feeding preferences when considering feeder design. While using a feeder with smaller openings may deter some doves from feeding, it ultimately depends on the seed size being offered. Doves favor larger seeds, so if you’re still providing large seeds in a feeder with small openings, they will likely find a way to access them. Instead, consider switching to smaller seeds or offering them in a separate location away from the dove-prone feeder. It’s also worth noting that doves are ground feeders by nature, so placing food directly on the ground may be more effective at diverting their attention away from your other feeders.

Are There Any Physical Barriers That Can Be Used To Prevent Doves From Landing On Bird Feeders?

When it comes to bird control, there are a variety of tactics to consider. One option for preventing larger birds like doves from landing on bird feeders is the use of bird spikes. These physical barriers can be installed around the edges of the feeder to make it difficult or uncomfortable for birds to perch and access food. Another approach involves scare tactics, such as hanging shiny objects or using motion-activated devices that startle birds when they get too close. As a bird control expert, I always recommend considering multiple strategies in combination to create an effective deterrent system. After all, keeping your feathered friends safe and happy requires both planning and persistence.

Can Changing The Type Of Birdseed Used In The Feeder Discourage Doves From Feeding?

Changing the type of birdseed used in a feeder can potentially discourage doves from feeding. However, it is important to note that this may not always be effective and other methods such as modifying the design of the feeder or using physical barriers may need to be employed. As a bird control expert, I recommend experimenting with different types of seed mixes to see what works best for deterring unwanted birds. Additionally, consider incorporating features into your feeder design such as perches that are difficult for larger birds like doves to access or placing the feeder further away from trees or other structures where they can perch before landing on it. Ultimately, finding an effective solution will require some trial and error but by taking these steps you should be able to keep doves at bay while still enjoying all the benefits of feeding wild birds.

Is It Possible To Train Doves To Use A Separate Feeding Station?

As a bird control expert, I have found that training techniques can be effective in redirecting doves to use separate feeding stations. Doves have unique feeding preferences and require specific types of food such as cracked corn or millet. By providing these foods exclusively at a designated station, the doves will learn to associate that location with their preferred meals. It is important to consistently reinforce this behavior by removing any other sources of food near the new feeding station. With patience and persistence, it is possible to train doves to use a separate feeding area without causing harm or distress to the birds.

Are There Any Plants Or Landscaping Techniques That Can Discourage Doves From Congregating Near Bird Feeders?

Landscaping alternatives and natural deterrents are effective ways to discourage doves from congregating near bird feeders. One option is to plant thorny or prickly shrubs, such as holly or barberry, around the feeding area as they provide an uncomfortable landing spot for birds. Another technique is to incorporate motion-activated sprinklers that activate when a dove lands in the vicinity of the feeder, which can startle them away. Additionally, using mesh netting over open areas where food spills may accumulate can prevent doves from accessing leftover seeds and grains on the ground. These methods offer humane and safe solutions for deterring doves without harming them.


In conclusion, there are several ways to keep doves off bird feeders. While using a feeder with smaller openings may deter them from feeding, physical barriers such as wire mesh or netting can also be effective. Changing the type of birdseed used in the feeder and training doves to use a separate feeding station may also discourage their presence.

However, it’s important to note that doves are persistent creatures and may find ways around these obstacles. As a bird control expert, I often use the metaphor of a game of cat and mouse when discussing deterrent tactics for nuisance birds like doves. Just like how a clever mouse will always find a way into the pantry no matter how many traps you set up, determined birds will continue to seek out food sources even if they encounter resistance.

That being said, by implementing multiple strategies and regularly monitoring your feeders, you can successfully reduce dove activity while still providing nourishment for other feathered friends. Keep in mind that every situation is unique and may require different approaches – but with patience and perseverance, you can achieve peaceful coexistence between all types of backyard birds.

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