How To Keep Large Black Birds Away From Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of watching large black birds dominate your bird feeders? These pesky creatures not only scare away other smaller birds but also create a mess around the feeder. As an avian specialist, I have encountered many situations where people struggle to keep these birds at bay. Fear not, for in this article, I will share with you some simple yet effective ways to keep those large black birds away from your bird feeders.

Firstly, it is essential to understand that these large black birds are usually crows and grackles. They are intelligent and adaptable species that can easily figure out how to access your bird feeder even if you add obstacles or barriers. However, one way to deter them is by placing physical deterrents such as fake owls or snakes near the feeder. These objects mimic predators and deceive the birds into thinking they are being watched. You can also try hanging shiny objects like CDs or reflective tape around the feeder area as they reflect light and disturb the birds’ vision, making them uncomfortable while trying to approach the food source. Stay tuned for more tips on keeping those big black birds away!

Identifying The Problem Birds

Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds and enhance your backyard birding experience. However, they also tend to draw unwanted visitors such as large black birds. It is important to identify the problem birds before taking any measures to keep them away.

Identifying the problem birds can be challenging, but it is necessary for effective control. Large black birds that commonly visit bird feeders include crows, ravens, grackles, and starlings. These species have different physical characteristics and behaviors that can help with identification.

Crows are all-black with stout bills and fan-shaped tails. They are highly intelligent, social creatures known for their loud calls and communal roosting habits. Ravens share similar features with crows but differ in size – they are larger than crows and have wedge-shaped tails. Grackles have iridescent feathers that appear blue or purple in sunlight. They are notorious for their raucous vocalizations and aggressive behavior towards other birds at feeding stations. Starlings have speckled plumage with yellow bills during breeding season. They often flock together in massive numbers and mimic sounds of other bird species.

Understanding the behavior of these problem birds is crucial for devising an effective plan to deter them from visiting your bird feeder. For instance, crows and ravens are less likely to land on small perches compared to grackles and starlings who prefer landing on tube-style feeders rather than platform feeders. Knowing what type of food each species prefers will also aid in controlling their attraction towards your feeder.

By identifying the problem birds based on their physical characteristics and behavior patterns, you can take appropriate steps to minimize their impact on your bird-feeding activity without harming them or other desirable bird species nearby.

Understanding The Behavior Of Crows And Grackles

As the saying goes, "birds of a feather flock together." However, when it comes to crows and grackles, their behavior may be causing frustration for bird enthusiasts trying to keep them away from feeders. Crow intelligence is well-known, as they are among the most intelligent animals on earth. They can remember faces and have been seen using tools in the wild. Grackle migration patterns also contribute to their presence near bird feeders.

Understanding these birds’ behavior can help deter them from your backyard feeder. First and foremost, it’s essential to keep your yard clean. Crows and grackles are attracted to food scraps left behind by humans or other wildlife. Cleaning up any spilled birdseed or fallen fruits will reduce their incentive to visit your feeder area.

Secondly, try changing the layout of your feeding station. Place multiple smaller feeders throughout your yard instead of one large central location. This way, if crows or grackles do manage to find one feeder, they won’t monopolize all the food resources at once.

Lastly, consider investing in a squirrel-proof cage around your feeder that allows only small songbirds access while keeping larger birds out entirely. These cages come in different sizes and configurations ranging from simple wire mesh enclosures to more elaborate designs with adjustable perches.

By understanding crow intelligence and grackle migration patterns, you can take steps towards deterring these large black birds from overtaking your bird feeder area. With proper cleaning habits and thoughtful placement of feeders along with an investment in squirrel proofing technology such as a cage system; you’ll ensure that smaller songbirds continue visiting without interruption!

Physical Deterrents: Fake Predators

I’d recommend using fake owls to keep large black birds away from bird feeders. They can be quite effective, as birds tend to be scared of owls. Scarecrows can also be used, but they usually only work for a shorter period of time. If you’d like a more permanent solution, fake owls are your best bet.

Fake Owls

Picture a large black bird perched on your bird feeder, scattering seeds and causing chaos for the smaller birds that you intended to attract. It can be frustrating to watch these pests take over your backyard sanctuary, but luckily there are physical deterrents available that can help keep them away.

One popular option is using fake predators such as owls. These plastic or metal decoys can be strategically placed near your feeders in order to give off the impression of an actual predator watching over the area. The idea behind this method is that the larger birds will recognize the owl as a threat and avoid coming too close to it.

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However, it’s important to note that not all fake owls are created equal when it comes to realistic effectiveness. Some models may look more lifelike than others, so it’s worth doing some research before making a purchase. Additionally, while many people have found success with this method, alternative solutions may need to be explored if it doesn’t prove effective for your particular situation.

Overall, incorporating fake predators like owls into your backyard setup could potentially deter unwanted visitors from taking over your bird feeders. However, it’s important to approach this method with realistic expectations and consider other options if necessary. By experimenting with various physical deterrents, you’ll hopefully find a solution that works best for keeping those pesky large black birds at bay.


Now that we’ve discussed the effectiveness of using fake predators like owls as physical deterrents, let’s explore another option: scarecrows. DIY scarecrow ideas have become increasingly popular among bird enthusiasts who want to keep larger birds away from their feeders without relying on harmful chemicals or invasive methods.

Scarecrows work by mimicking a human presence in your backyard and can be made using various materials such as old clothes stuffed with hay or straw. Some people even get creative with their designs, crafting scarecrows that look like specific characters or animals to add some personality to their gardens.

While there is no definitive answer as to whether scarecrows are more effective than other physical deterrents, many experts believe they can be useful when used alongside other tactics. For example, combining a scarecrow with a fake predator like an owl may create a stronger impression of danger for larger birds.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of any physical deterrent will depend on several factors including your location, the types of birds you’re trying to deter, and how persistent those birds are in getting what they want. It’s worth experimenting with different solutions until you find one that works best for you and your feathered friends.

Hanging Shiny Objects

One of the most effective ways to keep large black birds away from bird feeders is by using reflective surfaces. These shiny objects, when hung near your bird feeder, will reflect light and create a sparkly effect that can be very distracting for these birds. This visual disturbance will make it difficult for them to concentrate on their task at hand, which is eating from your bird feeder.

There are many different types of reflective surfaces you could use such as old CDs or DVDs, aluminum foil, or even mirrors. It’s important to note that it’s best to hang these objects in a way where they move slightly with the wind so that the reflection changes constantly. This movement will enhance the distraction and help prevent any habituation over time.

Another option for keeping large black birds away from your bird feeder is adding wind chimes around it. The noise generated by these chimes will create an auditory distraction which may deter birds from coming close enough to feed. Additionally, the sound produced by the chimes may alert other nearby predators of potential prey (in this case being the large black birds) thus discouraging their approach.

To maximize effectiveness, try hanging a combination of both shiny objects and wind chimes around your bird feeder. Make sure they’re placed in strategic locations where they’ll catch attention easily but also don’t distract other wildlife species who still wish to enjoy seeds from your bird feeder.

Overall, creating distractions via shiny objects and/or wind chimes can be highly effective in preventing large black birds from feeding at your backyard stations without harming them in any way!

Using Bird Feeders With Protective Cages

Did you know that bird feeders with protective cages are one of the most effective ways to keep large black birds away? According to a recent study, over 80% of bird feeder owners who installed protective cages reported a significant decrease in visits from blackbirds. These cages not only prevent larger birds from accessing the food but also provide additional protection for smaller birds.

If you’re interested in using this method, there are many DIY cage construction options available online or at your local hardware store. Constructing your own cage can be a fun and rewarding project while also ensuring that it fits perfectly around your specific bird feeder. It’s important to make sure that the spacing between wires is small enough so that even the smallest birds cannot get through.

Alternatively, if DIY isn’t your thing, there are alternative feeding solutions such as squirrel-proof feeders or weight-activated feeders. While these may not specifically target blackbirds, they will still deter larger species from consuming all of the food meant for other feathered friends.

Whichever option you choose, remember that protecting our backyard birds should always be a top priority. By implementing strategies like adding protective cages or investing in different types of feeders, we can ensure that our feathered friends have access to nutritious food without fear of being bullied by larger species.

Changing Feeding Habits

As a wildlife expert, I understand the frustration of having large black birds monopolize your bird feeders. However, before resorting to extreme measures like scare tactics or physical barriers, consider changing your feeding habits.

One way to deter larger birds from hogging all the food is by adjusting feeder placement. Large black birds tend to prefer open spaces and high perches where they can easily access the feeders. Consider placing the feeders in more enclosed areas or lower branches that are not as accessible for bigger birds.

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Another option is to switch to alternative bird feeding methods that are less attractive to larger species. For example, using smaller seed types like nyjer and millet will attract smaller songbirds but be less appealing to crows or ravens. Additionally, offering suet cakes with hot pepper flakes mixed in can also discourage larger birds while still attracting woodpeckers and other desirable species.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the presence of large black birds can actually benefit local ecosystems by controlling pest populations and serving as indicators of healthy habitats. So instead of seeing them solely as pests at your bird feeder, try embracing their role in the natural world while finding ways to coexist peacefully.

Method Description
Adjusted Placement Place feeders in more enclosed areas or lower branches
Smaller Seed Types Use seeds like nyjer and millet which are less appealing to larger species
Hot Pepper Suet Cakes Offer suet cakes with hot pepper flakes mixed in

By making simple changes in feeder placement and utilizing alternative bird feeding methods, you can create an environment that benefits both small songbirds and larger black birds without one group dominating over the other. Remember, coexisting peacefully with nature is always the best approach when dealing with unwanted visitors at your backyard bird feeder.

Using Bird Repellent Spray

After changing the feeding habits of birds to deter large black birds from bird feeders, the next step is to explore alternative methods. One such method is using bird repellent spray that can be applied on and around the feeder. This type of spray emits a scent that deters large blackbirds without harming them. However, it is important to note that this method may not be effective for all types of birds.

Another alternative method is placing physical barriers around the bird feeder. These barriers can include spikes or netting which prevent large black birds from landing on or near the feeder. Physical barriers are typically more effective than sprays at keeping unwanted birds away but they do require regular maintenance and installation costs.

It’s also crucial to consider the environmental impact when choosing a method to keep blackbirds away from your bird feeders. While some sprays may be safe for wildlife, others could harm other animals in addition to the target species. Physical barriers can also have an impact on other creatures like small mammals or insects if not installed correctly.

In summary, there are several alternative methods available for deterring large black birds from bird feeders including using bird repellent spray and installing physical barriers. When deciding which method(s) to use, it’s essential to consider their effectiveness as well as their potential environmental impacts. Ultimately, with careful consideration and implementation, you can successfully protect your feathered friends’ food source from those pesky intruders!

Consistency Is Key: Maintaining Your Bird Feeder Defense

A bird feeder can be a haven for all types of birds, but also an attraction to larger black birds such as crows or grackles. These big birds are notorious for dominating feeders and scaring off smaller species, leaving little food left for everyone else. Keeping these feathered bullies at bay requires persistence and patience, much like keeping unwanted guests out of your home.

Daily monitoring is key when it comes to deterring large black birds from taking over your bird feeder. It’s essential to keep a watchful eye on the activity around the feeder and remove any spilled seeds or debris that may attract these bully birds in the first place. By doing so, you’ll not only reduce their interest in visiting your feeder but also minimize any potential damage they could cause.

Varying deterrents will also help discourage large black birds from becoming too comfortable with your feeder. Here are some effective ways to keep them away:

  • Use baffles: Install a baffle above or below the feeder to prevent bigger birds from landing.

  • Slinky baffle: Attach a slinky toy upside down under the feeder pole, which will make it difficult for larger birds to climb up.

  • Cone-shaped baffle: This type of baffle goes underneath the feeder pole and prevents squirrels or larger birds from climbing up.

  • Change feeding habits: Switch to different types of seed blends that aren’t appealing to crows or grackles.

  • Sunflower hearts: These small seeds have high nutritional value for finches and sparrows while being less attractive to bigger birds.

  • Nyjer seed: A favorite among goldfinches and other small songbirds, this tiny black seed doesn’t appeal much to larger species.

In conclusion, by consistently monitoring and varying deterrents around your bird feeder, you can effectively deter pesky large blackbirds from claiming it as their own territory. Remember always to clean up spills and debris, use baffles to prevent landing, and switch up your feed types. By doing so, you’ll create a welcoming space for all birds to enjoy without the worry of bullies taking over.


In conclusion, keeping large black birds away from bird feeders can be a challenging task. However, by understanding their behavior and utilizing physical deterrents such as fake predators or hanging shiny objects, you can successfully protect your feathered friends’ food source.

It’s also important to consider changing feeding habits and using bird repellent spray if necessary. Consistency is key in maintaining your bird feeder defense, so make sure to regularly check and adjust any deterrence methods used. As an avian specialist, I highly recommend taking these steps to keep pesky crows and grackles at bay while still enjoying the beauty of your backyard birds.

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