How To Keep Doves Out Of Your Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Hey there! Are you tired of doves taking over your bird feeder and leaving no seeds for the smaller birds? Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips to help keep those pesky doves away!

Doves are known for their love of feeding at bird feeders. They can be quite persistent in getting what they want, which often leaves other birds with nothing to eat. However, with a few simple tricks, it’s possible to discourage doves from monopolizing your feeder while still providing food for the rest of your feathered friends. Keep reading to learn how to make your bird feeder dove-proof!

Understanding Doves’ Feeding Habits

When it comes to feeding preferences, doves are known to be ground feeders. They prefer seeds that have fallen on the ground or those that are easily accessible from low-hanging branches of trees and shrubs. This behavior is in contrast with other bird species, such as finches and chickadees, who rely heavily on hanging feeders.

Doves also tend to choose larger food items compared to smaller birds. In general, they prefer black oil sunflower seeds over millet or thistle seed varieties. Additionally, when given a choice of mixed birdseed blends, doves will often pick out their preferred seeds and leave behind the rest for other birds.

While doves may not necessarily pose any harm to your feeder setup, their presence can result in excessive seed loss due to their feeding habits. If you want to keep these feathered friends at bay, understanding their behavior can help you make informed choices about how best to deter them from your feeder.

To start off, choosing a feeder type that’s less attractive to doves should be considered. A tube-style feeder with small perches might discourage them since they cannot comfortably perch while eating. Another option would be a caged feeder which only allows access for smaller birds while keeping away bigger ones like doves.

Choosing A Feeder Type That’s Less Attractive To Doves

Now that we understand the feeding habits of doves, it’s time to choose a feeder type that is less attractive to them. One important factor is the material of the feeder. It’s best to avoid wooden or clay feeders as they tend to attract doves more than metal or plastic ones.

Another consideration is perching options. Doves prefer to perch while eating rather than clinging onto a feeder, so choosing one with fewer perches can help deter them. Additionally, you can purchase feeders specifically designed for smaller birds like finches and chickadees which have narrow perches that are too small for larger birds like doves.

It’s also important to note that the placement of your feeder plays a significant role in whether or not doves will be attracted to it. By placing your feeder near trees or other structures where doves like to roost, you’re increasing their likelihood of visiting. Instead, try hanging your feeder from a pole away from any nearby surfaces that could serve as a landing spot for doves.

By adjusting your choice of feeder materials and perching options, as well as carefully selecting an appropriate location for your birdfeeder, you’ll be able to deter those pesky doves from feasting on all the seed intended for smaller bird species. Next up, let’s discuss how adjusting the placement of your feeder can further discourage dove visits.

Adjusting Feeder Placement To Deter Doves

If you’re dealing with pesky doves, the best way to deter them is to position your feeders away from buildings. Placing them on tall poles is also a great way to prevent doves from accessing them. If your yard has a few trees or shrubs, you can also hang the feeders from them to keep doves away. With proper placement, you’ll make it more difficult for doves to reach the feeder and reduce the amount of food they consume. Don’t forget to inspect the feeder periodically and re-position it if needed. It’s not hard to keep doves away with the right feeder placement!

Position Feeders Away From Buildings

Do you want to keep doves out of your bird feeder? Well, you’re not alone! Many people enjoy feeding birds in their outdoor space but can’t seem to deter the pesky doves. However, there are some simple adjustments you can make to your feeder placement that will help keep these birds away.

As an avian expert, I recommend positioning feeders at least 10 feet away from any buildings or structures. Doves tend to perch on buildings and then fly directly to the nearby feeder for a quick meal. By placing your feeder further away, they’ll be less likely to make the trip over.

It’s important to follow bird feeding etiquette when making these changes. Make sure feeders are still easily accessible for other species like songbirds and woodpeckers. Additionally, consider adding more than one feeder in different locations around your yard to spread out the food source.

By strategically placing your feeders away from buildings, you can create a more dove-free environment for yourself and other feathered friends. Don’t forget about maintaining clean feeders and using appropriate seed types as well – all factors that contribute to successful bird watching!

Place Feeders On Tall Poles

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of placing feeders away from buildings, let’s talk about another effective method for deterring doves: placing feeders on tall poles. This strategy works because doves prefer to eat at ground level or from low-hanging feeders. By elevating your feeder, you can make it less accessible to these birds.

When choosing a pole for your feeder, it’s important to consider stability. A sturdy metal pole is ideal, as wooden poles may rot over time and become unstable. Additionally, make sure the feeder itself is securely attached to the pole to prevent any wobbling or tipping.

Alternative locations are also key when using this method. Ideally, place the pole in an open area with no nearby trees or structures that could allow doves to jump onto the feeder from above. Again, following bird feeding etiquette is crucial – be sure other species like songbirds and woodpeckers can still access the food source.

Incorporating both strategies of placing feeders away from buildings and on tall poles can greatly reduce dove presence in your outdoor space. Remember to regularly clean your feeders and use appropriate seed types as well. With some small adjustments, you can create a welcoming environment for a variety of avian friends while keeping pesky doves at bay!

Hang Feeders From Trees And Shrubs

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of placing feeders away from buildings and on tall poles to deter doves, let’s discuss another effective method: hanging feeders from trees and shrubs. This strategy works by making it more difficult for doves to access the feeder, as they are not natural climbers like squirrels or chipmunks.

When selecting a tree or shrub for your feeder, it’s important to consider the height and density of branches. Hanging the feeder too low may still make it accessible to some birds, while choosing a tree with sparse branches may allow doves to fly directly onto the feeder. Additionally, regular tree trimming can help prevent any nearby branches from becoming stepping stones for doves.

Birdhouse installation is also an important factor when using this method. By providing alternative nesting options for songbirds, you can reduce their competition with doves for food sources. It’s recommended to place birdhouses at least 10 feet away from any feeding areas to minimize disturbance.

As always, following bird feeding etiquette is crucial. Be sure to use appropriate seed types and clean your feeders regularly to promote overall avian health. Incorporating all three methods – placing feeders away from buildings, on tall poles, and in trees/shrubs – can greatly decrease dove presence in your outdoor space while still creating a welcoming environment for other feathered friends.

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By adjusting feeder placement and taking small steps like tree trimming and birdhouse installation, you can effectively manage dove populations without harming them. Keep these strategies in mind next time you refill your feeder!

Using A Baffle Or Dome To Keep Doves Out

Baffles and domes are two effective ways to keep doves out of your bird feeder. A baffle is a cone or cylinder-shaped device that attaches to the pole underneath the feeder, preventing birds from climbing up to it. Many baffles are made of metal or plastic and come in different sizes.

One advantage of using a baffle is its effectiveness at keeping larger birds like doves away from the feeder. When placed correctly, they can be quite successful at deterring these types of birds. However, it’s important to note that some determined doves may still find a way around the baffle.

On the other hand, using a dome above the feeder can also be an effective method for keeping doves away. Domes typically consist of a clear plastic dome attached to the top of the feeder via a hanging wire or chain. This creates an obstacle for larger birds like doves who prefer open spaces while feeding.

The main advantage of using a dome is that it not only keeps doves out but also protects against weather elements such as rain and snow. It helps prevent food spoilage by providing shade during hot sunny days, which reduces moisture build-up inside feeders. Overall, both methods have their advantages when it comes to deterring doves from your birdfeeder; however, combining them could provide optimal results.

To further deter unwanted visitors like doves from your birdfeeder, consider offering food that they dislike. In combination with baffles or domes, this technique can significantly reduce dove activity around your feeders.

Offering Food That Doves Dislike

As an avian expert or bird control specialist, it is important to understand the feeding habits of doves. Doves are known to be attracted to a variety of seeds such as sunflower, millet and safflower seeds which are commonly found in most bird feeders. However, there are certain types of bird seed that they tend to avoid.

One alternative food option for birds that do not attract doves is cracked corn. This type of food can be added to your existing feeder or offered on its own in a separate dish. Cracked corn is a popular food choice among ground-feeding birds like sparrows, finches and towhees.

Another option is suet cakes. These high-energy snacks contain animal fats and are typically offered during the winter months when other sources of food may be scarce. Suet cakes come in different flavors such as peanut butter, fruit and nut blends and even insect-based options.

If you have tried changing the type of bird seed without any success, then investing in dove resistant feeders might be the solution for you. These specialized feeders usually come with weight-sensitive perches or domes that close off access to larger birds like pigeons and doves while allowing smaller birds free access to the food inside.

Providing alternative feeding options for doves can help reduce their presence at your bird feeder but also ensure that other species continue visiting your backyard habitat. In the subsequent section, we will discuss how offering water sources around your yard can provide another way for them to quench their thirst without relying on your feeder alone.

Providing Alternative Feeding Options For Doves

If your bird feeder is being overrun by doves, you’ll want to consider offering ground-based feeding options. Setting out trays of bird seed on the ground can be an effective way to keep doves away from your feeders. Additionally, installing dove-resistant bird feeders can help control the population of doves at your feeder. I recommend checking out some of the bird feeders on the market that have been designed to deter doves from visiting.

Offering Ground-Based Feeding

Let’s talk about offering ground-based feeding as an alternative option to keep doves out of your bird feeder. This method is a great way to provide food for the birds while keeping them off your feeders.

Ground feeding advantages include attracting different types of birds that may not typically come to a hanging feeder, such as sparrows and juncos. Additionally, it can be easier to clean up any spilled seed or shells on the ground instead of having them accumulate in your feeders. However, there are also disadvantages of ground based feeding. It can attract unwanted critters like squirrels and mice who will eat the seeds meant for the birds. Also, since the food is exposed to elements like rain and snow, it may spoil faster than if kept in a covered feeder.

One solution to prevent unwanted animals from accessing ground feeders is by placing them inside squirrel-proof cages or adding baffles around them. These devices create barriers between the seed and anything that tries to access it from above or below. If you prefer not to use additional equipment, try placing small amounts of seed at various locations throughout your yard rather than all in one area.

In conclusion, offering ground-based feeding as an option is a great way to keep doves out of your bird feeder while still providing food for other species. Though there are some downsides to this approach, they can easily be mitigated with proper precautions and placement. With these tips in mind, you’ll have a lovely assortment of feathered friends visiting your backyard in no time!

Installing Dove-Resistant Bird Feeders

As we continue to explore alternative feeding options for doves, another effective method is installing dove-resistant bird feeders. These types of feeders are specifically designed to prevent larger birds like doves from accessing the food while still allowing smaller birds to feed comfortably.

Feeder design is crucial when it comes to deterring doves. Look for models with small perches or no perches at all so that doves cannot land and access the seed. Additionally, consider investing in weight-activated feeders that close off access to the seed as soon as a certain amount of weight is detected. This will not only keep out doves but also squirrels and other pests.

When placing dove-resistant bird feeders, proper placement is key. Hang them high enough so that even if a dove tries to fly up and reach the feeder, they won’t be able to get their head over the top. Also, make sure there are no nearby trees or structures that would enable a dove to jump onto the feeder from above. Keep in mind that some species of small birds prefer lower hanging feeders, so try placing multiple types throughout your yard.

It’s important to note that even with these measures in place, determined doves may still attempt to access your feeder. In this case, you can also try adding physical barriers like baffles around the feeder pole or using slippery substances like petroleum jelly on surfaces where doves tend to perch. Remember not to use harmful chemicals or anything that could potentially harm wildlife.

With dove-resistant bird feeders installed correctly, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your feathered friends are being fed while keeping pesky doves at bay. By taking into consideration both feeder design and placement strategies, you’ll create an environment suitable for a variety of different bird species without sacrificing any of their safety or comfort.

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Creating A Bird-Friendly Landscape To Distract Doves

Providing alternative feeding options for doves is a good way to keep them from hogging your bird feeder. However, it’s not the only solution available to you. Another effective method involves creating a bird-friendly landscape that will distract the doves and give other birds a chance to feed.

Plant selection plays an important role in this strategy. Choose plants with dense foliage or bushes that can provide cover for smaller birds while they eat. Avoid planting trees that have large branches where doves can perch and watch over their territory. You may also want to consider adding some groundcover like creeping thyme or ajuga, which will attract insects that birds love to eat.

Water features are another great way to create a distraction for doves while giving other birds access to food. A birdbath or small pond surrounded by shrubs creates an ideal environment for many species of songbirds. If you live near water, try installing a stream or waterfall feature. The sound of running water is very attractive to many types of birds.

Regular maintenance is necessary if you want these strategies to work effectively over time. Keep your landscaping trimmed and tidy so there are no hiding spots for doves. Clean up any spilled seed regularly, as this can be a magnet for all kinds of pests including rodents. By following these tips consistently, you’ll help ensure that your backyard remains an inviting place for all sorts of feathered friends – except those pesky doves!

Regular Maintenance To Keep Doves At Bay

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your bird feeder is essential in keeping doves at bay. Doves are notorious for being attracted to leftover seeds, so make sure to clean the feeding tray after every use. This will not only prevent doves from flocking to your feeder but also keep it hygienic for other birds.

Another important aspect of regular maintenance is inspecting the feeder for any damages or wear and tear. Check if there are any holes or cracks that could potentially lead to seed spillage and attract unwanted birds like doves. If you notice any damage, repairs or replacements should be made as soon as possible.

Apart from checking for damages, you should also ensure that the bird feeder’s design does not cater to larger birds like doves. Opt for a model with smaller openings or add baffles around the feeding area to deter bigger birds from landing on it. This will significantly decrease the chances of doves hogging all the food intended for smaller songbirds.

By following these simple steps, you can maintain a dove-free environment around your bird feeder while still attracting various species of chirping birds.

Additional Tips:

  • Place a mesh cover over your birdseed container before filling it up.
  • Consider purchasing squirrel-proof feeders since squirrels tend to knock over feeders causing spills that attract doves.
  • Use safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds; they’re known to repel doves because of their bitter taste!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Using A Bird Feeder With Smaller Holes Prevent Doves From Feeding?

As an avian expert, I highly recommend using baffles to deter larger birds from accessing your bird feeder. While smaller holes on a bird feeder may prevent doves from feeding, it can also limit access for other desirable species like finches and chickadees. It’s important to choose the right seed mixtures that are specifically formulated to attract desired birds while deterring others. Using baffles strategically placed above or below your feeder will provide a physical barrier for larger birds like doves and squirrels. This technique is not only effective but also humane without causing harm to any of our feathered friends.

Can I Use A Squirrel-Proof Feeder To Deter Doves?

As an avian expert, I can tell you that using a squirrel-proof feeder is not the most effective way to deter doves from feeding. While these types of feeders may prevent squirrels or larger birds from accessing the food, doves are still able to land on the perches and access the seeds. A more practical solution would be to use alternative dove feeders with smaller openings or mesh wire designed for smaller birds. These types of feeders will ensure that only small songbirds have access to the seed while excluding doves and other unwanted visitors.

Are There Specific Types Of Foods That Doves Are More Likely To Avoid?

As an avian expert, I can tell you that doves have very specific feeding preferences. When it comes to seed types, they tend to avoid those with a high oil content or dark colors. Sunflower seeds and safflower seeds are often less appealing to these birds compared to millet and cracked corn. By avoiding certain seed types in your bird feeder, you may be able to deter doves from feasting on the food intended for other feathered friends. It’s important to keep in mind their dietary needs as well as the behavior of other birds when making decisions about what type of feeders and foods to use in your backyard sanctuary.

Should I Avoid Feeding Birds Altogether To Prevent Doves From Being Attracted To My Yard?

As an avian expert, I understand the frustration of attracting unwanted birds to your yard. While avoiding feeding birds altogether may prevent doves from being attracted to your yard, it also means denying other feathered friends a valuable food source and enjoyment for birdwatchers. Instead, consider alternative solutions such as using feeders designed specifically for smaller birds or incorporating some squirrel-proofing measures into your setup. Pros and cons should be weighed before making any decisions that could affect not just one species but all the birds that frequent your backyard.

How Long Will It Take For The Doves To Stop Visiting My Feeder After Implementing Deterrents?

As an expert in bird control, it is important to consider the effectiveness of any deterrents before implementing them. It’s not uncommon for doves to continue visiting a feeder even after attempts have been made to keep them away. This calls for an effectiveness assessment of your chosen methods and perhaps exploring alternative options such as changing the type of seed offered or adjusting feeding times. Patience is key; it may take several days or weeks for doves to stop visiting the feeder once changes have been made. Remember that doves are delightful creatures too, so finding a balance between their presence and feeding other birds can be rewarding.


Well folks, it’s time to say goodbye to those pesky doves that have been hogging your bird feeder. Using a bird feeder with smaller holes is one approach you can take to keep them out; however, if that doesn’t work, consider using a squirrel-proof feeder as another deterrent.

But what about the food? Are there certain types of foods that doves tend to avoid? The answer is yes! Doves are less likely to eat seeds and nuts such as safflower or thistle. So try swapping out your usual seed mix for these options instead. And don’t worry – you don’t need to stop feeding birds altogether just because of a few unwelcome guests.

As an avian expert, I recommend giving these methods at least a week before expecting any significant changes in dove behavior. Remember: patience is key when it comes to deterring birds from your feeders. But once they’re gone, you’ll be able to enjoy watching all sorts of other feathered friends flocking to your yard without interruption!

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