How To Keep Doves Out Of Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by Susan Levitt

As a wildlife management expert, I understand the importance of keeping bird feeders free from unwanted guests. Doves are beautiful birds that can be found all around the world but when it comes to your backyard feeder, they can become quite pesky. These ground-feeding birds often cause damage to other plants and flowers in search of food which is why it’s important to keep them out of your bird feeder.

Luckily, there are several ways to discourage doves from feeding at your bird feeder without harming these lovely creatures. In this article, we’ll discuss some effective methods you can use to deter doves and ensure that your feathered friends get all the nourishment they need while protecting your garden from any potential harm caused by these persistent visitors. With a few simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy watching the birds at your feeder without worrying about any unwelcome intruders disrupting their peaceful mealtime.

Understanding Dove Behavior

Have you ever found yourself perplexed by doves swooping down to your bird feeder and devouring all the seeds? Fear not, for there are ways to keep these pesky birds at bay. First, let’s delve into dove feeding habits.

Doves have a diverse diet that includes fruits, seeds, insects, and even snails. They’re opportunistic feeders who don’t mind eating from the ground or elevated surfaces like bird feeders. In fact, they prefer elevated platforms as it gives them an advantage over other birds in spotting incoming predators.

Now onto dove nesting behaviors. Doves typically build their nests on tree branches or ledges close to food sources. Their nest looks like a platform made of twigs with little to no lining inside. These nests can be reused multiple times throughout the breeding season.

Understanding dove behavior is crucial in finding solutions to keeping them away from your bird feeder. Knowing that they prefer elevated platforms may help us choose the right type of feeder that will deter them from landing on it altogether. Let’s explore some options in our next section without further ado.

Choosing The Right Feeder Type

When it comes to deterring doves from your bird feeder, selecting the right type of feeder can make a big difference. Feeder design is crucial in keeping larger birds like doves at bay. Consider using feeders that have smaller perches or only allow access to birds under a certain weight limit. This will prevent heavier birds like doves from landing on and consuming all the seed.

Another aspect to consider when choosing a feeder is seed preference. Doves tend to favor larger seeds such as sunflower seeds and corn kernels, so opting for a feeder with small ports or holes can help deter them from feeding. Additionally, try offering different types of seeds that doves may not be fond of, such as thistle or nyjer seed.

It’s important to note that while some feeders claim to be "dove-proof," no feeder is completely foolproof. However, making these adjustments to your feeder selection and seed offerings can greatly reduce the likelihood of attracting doves.

Next up, we’ll discuss how opting for smaller seeds can also aid in preventing unwanted guests at your bird feeder. By providing smaller seeds such as millet or safflower instead of large seeds favored by doves, you can attract a wider variety of songbirds while simultaneously discouraging dove activity.

Opting For Smaller Seeds

After choosing the right type of feeder, it is important to consider what types of seeds you are putting in it. Doves tend to favor larger seeds such as sunflower and safflower, so opting for smaller seed varieties can help deter them from visiting your feeder.

In addition to selecting smaller seeds, there are alternative solutions to keeping doves out of your bird feeder. One option is investing in a dove proof feeder that has smaller openings or weight-activated perches. These feeders will prevent larger birds like doves from accessing the food while still allowing smaller birds to enjoy it.

Another solution is placing the feeder higher up off the ground where doves may be less likely to venture. The ideal height would be at least 5 feet high and away from any nearby trees or structures where they could perch before flying down.

It’s also important to note that simply removing all sources of food won’t necessarily keep doves away. They may continue to visit your yard in search of other resources such as water or shelter. Therefore, adding additional features such as birdbaths or nesting boxes can help attract different types of birds while discouraging others like doves.

To further protect your bird feeder from unwanted visitors, considering adding a squirrel baffle around the pole supporting the feeder. This device prevents squirrels (and potentially large birds like doves) from climbing up the pole and accessing the food source above. By implementing these strategies together, you can create a space that caters specifically towards certain species while deterring others from invading their territory.

Adding A Squirrel Baffle

If you’re struggling to keep doves out of your bird feeder, adding a squirrel baffle can help deter these birds as well. A DIY baffle installation is fairly simple and cost-effective. You’ll need a cylindrical or dome-shaped baffle made from durable material such as metal or plastic that’s large enough to cover the top of your bird feeder.

To install the baffle, slide it over the pole supporting your feeder so that it rests just above the feeding tray. This will prevent any birds from perching on top of the feeder and accessing its contents. The smooth surface of the baffle also makes it difficult for squirrels to climb up and steal food.

In addition to using a squirrel baffle, there are alternative dove proof feeders available on the market. These typically have smaller feeding ports that make it difficult for larger birds like doves to access them. Some models even come with adjustable weight settings that close off access when heavier birds land on them.

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While these options can be effective in deterring doves, they may not work for all situations. If you still find yourself dealing with persistent dove visitors, consider using a seed tray under your feeder instead. This provides an additional barrier between the ground and your feeder, making it more difficult for birds to reach their desired meal.

Using A Seed Tray

"Keep your bird feeder dove-free with this simple trick," I say as I introduce the use of a seed tray. The sight of doves chomping down on all the seeds can be frustrating, but fear not, for using a seed tray benefits both you and other birds.

A seed tray is an effective tool to keep doves away from your bird feeders while still attracting smaller birds like finches or sparrows. It works by providing a platform that only small birds can access, preventing larger ones from feeding directly on the feeder. Plus, it also keeps fallen seeds off the ground which could attract rodents and other unwanted critters.

If you don’t have a seed tray available, there are alternatives such as placing chicken wire over the top of your feeder so that only smaller birds can enter through the holes. Alternatively, try hanging multiple feeders at different heights – one for large birds and another for small ones.

Using a seed tray may not be foolproof in keeping doves out completely, but it’s certainly worth trying if these birds are causing trouble at your bird feeder. In addition to its effectiveness, it’s also an affordable option compared to purchasing new equipment altogether."

Now that we’ve discussed how using a seed tray can benefit your bird feeder setup let’s move onto our next step: placing the feeder in a strategic location." ‘When placing your feeder, choose a location that is visible to you but also provides cover for the birds. This can be near a tree or shrub where the birds can retreat to if they feel threatened. Additionally, avoid placing the feeder near windows or reflective surfaces to prevent birds from accidentally flying into them.’

Placing The Feeder In A Strategic Location

Using a Seed Tray is an excellent way to keep your bird feeder clean and reduce spillage. However, it may not be enough to deter doves from feeding on the seeds intended for other birds. Another effective strategy is to consider Feeder height and Tree proximity.

If you hang your bird feeder too low or near trees, doves will easily access it. It’s best to place the feeder at least five feet above ground and away from any nearby branches that could serve as perches for doves. This will make it difficult for them to land and feed while allowing smaller birds like finches and chickadees easy access.

When choosing a location, also consider Sun and shade. Birds typically prefer sunnier spots, but if the area gets too hot during summer months, they won’t want to visit often. On the other hand, if there isn’t enough sunlight in winter, birds might avoid the area altogether. Try placing your feeder where it receives partial sun exposure throughout the day.

Lastly, repelling doves with water or noise can be another solution worth considering. Some people use motion-activated sprinklers that spray water when a dove lands on their feeder or play sounds of predators such as hawks or owls through speakers placed strategically around the yard. These methods are safe for both birds and humans but should only be used as a last resort after trying more humane strategies first.

By following these tips on Feeder height, Tree proximity, Sun and shade placement and potentially using deterrents such as water or noise-based solutions; you’ll have a better chance of keeping doves out of your bird feeder while still attracting other beautiful feathered friends into your backyard habitat!

Repelling Doves With Water Or Noise

As we know, doves are attracted to bird feeders and can often be difficult to deter. However, an effective way to repel them is through the use of water repellents or noise deterrents.

One option for a water repellent is to install a motion-activated sprinkler system near the bird feeder. When the sensor detects movement from a dove, it will activate the sprinkler and spray water in its direction. This sudden burst of water will startle the dove and encourage it to fly away.

Another option for deterring doves is through noise. There are several noise deterrents available on the market that emit high-pitched sounds when triggered by motion sensors. These noises are unpleasant for doves and other birds but not harmful, making them a humane option for keeping your feeding area free from unwanted guests.

It’s important to note that while these methods can effectively repel doves, they may also affect other birds visiting your feeder. It’s essential to choose products specifically designed for deterring doves rather than general pest control devices.

By utilizing water repellents or noise deterrents, you’ll create an environment that isn’t appealing to doves looking for food sources. Using these techniques alongside proper cleaning practices ensures that all birds have access to safe and healthy feeding environments without disturbance from unwanted visitors.

Ensuring A Clean Feeding Environment

Maintaining a clean feeding environment is crucial in keeping doves and other pests away from your bird feeder. Feeder hygiene should be one of your top priorities, as it can prevent the spread of disease among birds that flock to your backyard. Make sure that you regularly clean the feeders with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly before refilling them.

Another way to deter doves from taking over your bird feeder is by practicing pest control measures. You may want to consider using squirrel-proof or caged feeders since these are designed to keep larger birds like doves at bay. Additionally, placing baffles above or beneath the feeder can also discourage unwelcome guests such as squirrels and raccoons.

To further enhance the effectiveness of your pest control approach, it’s best to choose the right type of food for your feathered friends. For instance, sunflower seeds tend to attract larger birds like doves while smaller songbirds prefer mixed seed blends containing millet, cracked corn, and Nyjer seeds. By selecting foods that are less appealing to doves, you can reduce their presence around your bird feeder.

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Lastly, ensure that there are no nearby sources of food waste or spilled seed on the ground as this can also attract unwanted visitors. Keep an eye out for any signs of moldy or wet seeds which could potentially cause harm to birds and prompt other animals to come near your feeding stations. Always dispose of spoiled food properly and avoid leaving leftovers lying around.

  • Use a pole-mounted bird feeder instead of hanging ones.
  • Add hardware cloth around trees where feeders hang
  • Place decoys far off from where you have set up the birdfeeder
  • Install motion-sensor sprinklers if all else fails

Remember that maintaining a healthy feeding environment isn’t just about ensuring proper nutrition for our avian companions; it’s also about creating space where they feel safe and free from danger. With some simple steps, you can keep doves and other unwanted guests at bay while still providing a welcoming space for your birds to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Bird Feeder With Larger Seeds To Deter Doves?

As a wildlife management expert, I have encountered various bird species that can be particularly pesky when it comes to bird feeders. One technique that has proven successful in deterring doves from hogging all the seed is by using alternative feeders with smaller openings specifically designed for small birds like finches and chickadees. This will discourage larger birds like doves from accessing the feeder and gobbling up all the food. Another option is to use scaring techniques such as hanging reflective objects or placing predator decoys nearby. These methods may seem simple, but they are effective ways of keeping your bird feeder accessible to a variety of feathered friends while discouraging unwanted guests like doves from monopolizing the feeding area.

Will Adding Multiple Feeders To My Yard Help Keep Doves Away From One Specific Feeder?

Adding decoy birds and installing motion sensors can be effective methods to deter doves from a specific bird feeder. By introducing other feeders or even fake birds in the surrounding area, doves may become less attracted to one particular spot. Additionally, motion sensors that activate noise or movement when doves approach can startle them and discourage future visits. As a wildlife management expert, it’s important to remember that while these tactics may work for some time, they are not foolproof solutions. It’s also essential to consider the impact on other species and the environment before implementing any measures.

Are There Any Specific Plants Or Flowers I Can Add To My Yard To Repel Doves?

As a wildlife management expert, I can suggest several natural dove deterrents that involve adding plants and flowers to your yard. Some of the best options include planting prickly or thorny bushes such as holly, rosebushes, and cactus. These types of plants create an unwelcoming environment for doves seeking food in your yard. Additionally, you could add marigolds or geraniums which have strong scents that repel doves. Other effective plants and flowers for repelling doves include lavender, mint, and basil. By incorporating these natural dove deterrents into your landscape design, you can enjoy watching birds without worrying about them dominating one specific feeder in your yard.

Can I Use A Physical Barrier, Like Netting, To Keep Doves Away From My Feeder?

As a wildlife management expert, I highly recommend using netting alternatives and modifying your feeder design to prevent doves from accessing the food. Netting can be dangerous for birds and other animals if they become entangled in it, so consider using metal cages or baffles instead. Additionally, adjusting the size of feeding ports and adding weight-sensitive perches can discourage larger birds like doves while still allowing smaller songbirds to access the food. By taking these steps, you can create a safe and welcoming environment for all types of backyard birds.

Is It Possible To Train Doves To Stay Away From My Feeder Without Using Repellents Or Barriers?

Training techniques can be effective in modifying bird behavior, even among species known to frequent bird feeders like doves. One approach is operant conditioning, which involves using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors and negative punishment to discourage unwanted ones. For example, placing a feeder away from areas where doves tend to congregate and gradually moving it closer over time as they learn to associate its presence with rewards like food or treats can help deter them from visiting the original location. Additionally, incorporating noise or visual deterrents may also aid in training doves to stay away without the need for repellents or barriers. As a wildlife management expert, understanding these methods can enable homeowners to coexist peacefully with their feathered neighbors while still enjoying the beauty of backyard birds.


As a wildlife management expert, I can tell you that keeping doves away from your bird feeder is not an easy task. However, there are several methods you can try to deter them from taking over.

One option is to use a bird feeder with larger seeds that doves cannot easily eat. Adding multiple feeders to your yard may also help redirect their attention away from one specific feeder. Planting certain flowers and plants known to repel doves could also be effective. And if all else fails, a physical barrier like netting may need to be implemented.

But as much as we strive for control over our environment, it’s important to remember that nature will always find a way. Perhaps instead of trying to keep the doves away, we should learn to coexist with them in harmony. After all, they too are part of the beauty and diversity of this world we share.

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