How To Keep Mourning Doves Out Of Bird Feeder

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by

Mourning doves are a common bird species that can be found in many parts of North America. These birds have become increasingly popular among bird enthusiasts due to their unique cooing sound and gentle nature. However, they can also be a nuisance for those who wish to attract other types of birds to their backyard feeders.

If you’re looking to keep mourning doves out of your bird feeder, there are several strategies you can try. Mourning doves tend to be ground-feeders, so one effective way to deter them from accessing your feeder is by elevating it off the ground. Additionally, using smaller perches or offering only small seeds such as millet or nyjer may limit their ability to access the feeder. In this article, we will explore some additional tips and tricks for keeping these feathered friends at bay while still enjoying the beauty and diversity of our backyard bird populations.

Understanding Mourning Doves And Their Feeding Habits

Mourning doves are a common sight in many backyards and gardens. These birds are known for their distinctive cooing calls, which can often be heard throughout the day. But while they may be pleasant to listen to, mourning doves can also cause problems for bird feeders.

Understanding Mourning Dove Behavior is key to keeping them out of your bird feeder. These birds have a strong preference for feeding on the ground rather than perching on a feeder or branch. They will usually only use elevated areas if there is no other food source available nearby.

When it comes to Feeding Preferences, mourning doves prefer seeds such as cracked corn, millet, sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. If you want to attract these birds away from your bird feeder, consider providing food that is similar but placed directly on the ground instead.

It’s important to note that mourning doves are not aggressive towards other birds at the feeder and rarely scare off other species. However, they tend to eat in large groups and can quickly deplete seed supplies causing empty feeders sooner than expected. Understanding this behavior could help prevent disappointment when maintaining your backyard oasis!

Elevating Your Bird Feeder

You may have tried different DIY solutions to keep unwanted birds from taking over your bird feeder. While some of these methods can be effective, they also require constant monitoring and maintenance.

One solution that experts recommend is elevating your bird feeder. This means installing it at a height that makes it difficult for mourning doves and other large birds to reach. You can use a pole or post, depending on the type of feeder you have.

There are plenty of options available when it comes to professional installations as well. If you’re looking for something permanent and durable, you might want to consider having a metal pole installed. These poles are sturdy and long-lasting, but they can be more expensive than other options.

Overall, elevating your bird feeder is an excellent way to prevent mourning doves from taking over while still providing food for smaller birds. Consider both DIY solutions and professional installations before making a decision based on what suits your needs best. With patience and diligence, you’ll soon find the perfect way to elevate your bird feeder and enjoy watching birds without any interruptions!

Using Smaller Perches

Smaller perches can be an effective solution to keep mourning doves out of bird feeders. These birds are known for their ability to perch on almost any surface, including larger ones meant for other species. However, by using smaller perches, you create a physical barrier that discourages them from feeding.

When considering alternative solutions, it is important to understand the behavior of these birds. Mourning doves prefer flat surfaces with ample space to stand and eat comfortably. By placing smaller perches on your feeder, you’re making it less attractive to them and more appealing for smaller songbirds like finches and sparrows.

To make this technique work effectively, consider the placement of the perches. They should be close enough together so that small birds can easily maneuver between them but far enough apart so that mourning doves cannot land without slipping off or losing balance. Additionally, place the perches away from nearby trees or structures where they could jump onto the feeder from above.

By strategically using smaller perches on your bird feeder, you can help prevent mourning doves from dominating the food source intended for other species in your backyard habitat. This simple yet effective approach ensures that everyone gets a chance at the feast while promoting diversity among local avian wildlife populations.

Offering Only Small Seeds

The key to keeping mourning doves out of bird feeders is to offer only small seeds. Mourning doves have a large beak that allows them to easily crack open larger seeds, so offering smaller ones will not appeal to them as much. A great option for attracting finches is nyjer seed. Nyjer seed is tiny and difficult for mourning doves to consume, making it an excellent choice.

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Another way to keep mourning doves away from your feeder is by squirrel proofing it. Squirrels are notorious for stealing birdseed and can become quite the nuisance if they are allowed access to your feeder. There are many different types of squirrel proof feeders available on the market today, so finding one that works best for you shouldn’t be too difficult.

To better understand which seeds work best in deterring certain birds, refer to the table below:

Bird Species Seed Type Diet Preference
Finches Nyjer Small Seeds
Sparrows Millet Larger Seeds
Cardinals Sunflower Mixed

In addition to offering only small seeds and squirrel-proofing your feeder, there are other ways you can deter mourning doves from eating all your birdseed. For example, try placing a tray underneath your feeder to catch any dropped seeds. This will make it more difficult for ground feeding birds like the dove to reach their desired food source.

Overall, implementing these strategies should help reduce the number of mourning doves at your bird feeder and allow other species such as finches and cardinals to get their fair share of food as well. Remember that creating a welcoming environment for birds requires patience and experimentation with different techniques until you find what works best for you!

Creating A Barrier Around Your Feeder

Building an enclosure around your feeder is a great way to keep mourning doves out. You’ll want to make sure it’s tall enough to prevent them from flying in, but not so tall it stops other birds from entering. Attaching netting to the top of your enclosure is also an effective barrier; just make sure it’s durable enough to withstand the elements and won’t snag other birds. Finally, keep in mind that mourning doves can be persistent; if they can’t get in, they may try to peck at the enclosure to get to the food.

Building An Enclosure

If you’re looking for a way to keep mourning doves out of your bird feeder, building a DIY enclosure is an effective solution. This will not only deter these birds but also other larger species from accessing the feeders meant for smaller songbirds. An enclosure should be designed in such a way that it still allows easy access for attracting songbirds.

To begin with, choose materials that are sturdy enough to withstand outdoor conditions. You can use wire mesh or chicken wire and wooden posts as they are readily available at most hardware stores. The dimensions of the enclosure should depend on the size of your feeding station, keeping in mind that there should be adequate space around it for small birds to land and feed comfortably.

When constructing the enclosure, ensure that all openings are small enough to prevent any large birds from entering while still allowing easy entry and exit for songbirds. It’s important to note that some species may feel intimidated by enclosed spaces; therefore, make sure there’s sufficient natural light inside and provide cover nearby where necessary. Lastly, maintain regular cleaning practices to avoid any build-up of debris or food particles.

In conclusion, creating an enclosure is one practical method of deterring larger birds like mourning doves from dominating your feeder stations meant for smaller songbirds. By using sturdy materials and following proper construction guidelines, you can create an area where little birds can thrive without fear of competition from larger species. With patience and consistency in maintenance practices, you’ll soon have a thriving backyard full of beautiful singing visitors!

Attaching Netting

Now that we’ve covered building an enclosure, let’s discuss another effective method of creating a barrier around your feeder: attaching netting. Choosing the right netting is crucial to ensure that it effectively keeps larger birds away while still allowing smaller songbirds easy access to the feeders.

When selecting netting, opt for materials such as nylon or polypropylene mesh with small holes to prevent any large birds from entering. It’s also important to choose a color that blends well with your backyard environment and won’t stand out too much. Proper installation techniques are essential in ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of the netting.

Start by identifying where you want to place the netting and measure accordingly. Make sure there’s enough slack so that it can be attached securely without being too taut. Attach hooks or clips along the edges of the netting at regular intervals before hanging it over your feeding station.

Make adjustments as necessary to ensure that all sides are secure and no areas are left uncovered. It may take some trial and error initially, but once properly installed, you’ll have a reliable barrier against larger birds like mourning doves.

Overall, attaching netting is a simple yet effective solution for deterring unwanted visitors from accessing bird feeders meant for smaller species. By choosing appropriate materials and taking care during installation, you can create an unobtrusive barrier that allows little birds to thrive without interference from larger ones.

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Providing Alternative Food Sources

Now that you have created a barrier around your feeder, let’s talk about providing alternative food sources for mourning doves. Did you know that these birds are ground feeders and prefer to eat on open surfaces? In fact, they rarely use bird feeders except when there is no other option available.

To cater to their feeding habits, offering seed mixtures on the ground or in low trays can be an effective solution. You can also provide suet blocks hung from trees or poles as another source of nourishment. Suet blocks contain high fat content which satisfies their energy requirements during cold weather.

In addition to seeds and suet, fruit trays and nut dispensers placed near the ground level will attract mourning doves. These birds love eating nuts such as peanuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts. Moreover, fruits like raisins, apples and berries make for excellent snacks.

Providing alternative food sources not only keeps mourning doves away from your bird feeder but also encourages diversity in the local avian population. By following the above suggestions, you’ll create a hospitable environment for all kinds of backyard birds while preventing any one species from dominating the area.

Using Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrents can be an effective way to keep mourning doves out of your bird feeder. These deterrence methods work by creating a visual disturbance that makes the birds uncomfortable and encourages them to stay away from the area.

One option is colorful spinners, which can be hung near or on top of the feeder. The spinning motion catches their attention and creates movement in the surrounding space, making it less appealing for mourning doves to approach.

Another popular method is scarecrow decoys. These life-size replicas are designed to look like predatory birds such as hawks or owls. They create a sense of fear among other birds, including mourning doves, who will avoid areas where they see these predators present.

Reflective tape is another excellent tool that can help repel mourning doves. It works by reflecting sunlight in different directions, creating bright flashes of light that may startle or disorientate these birds. Attaching strips of reflective tape around your feeder or hanging them nearby can discourage unwanted visitors.

Fake owls are also a common sight in gardens and backyards across America because they mimic natural predator behavior. This technique has proven incredibly useful at keeping nuisance birds like mourning doves away from feeders and nesting sites.

In summary, Visual Deterrents offer an easy solution for deterring Mourning Doves from accessing bird feeders without causing any harm to either species involved. Some examples include Colorful Spinners, Scarecrow Decoys, Reflective Tape and Fake Owls; all of which serve different purposes but have been shown to be successful in preventing Mourning Dove access when used correctly.

Monitoring And Adjusting Your Feeder Setup

Are you tired of those pesky mourning doves hogging all the bird seed from your feeder? Well, fear not my fellow bird enthusiasts! With a few simple adjustments to your feeder setup, you can keep these gluttonous birds at bay.

Firstly, consider repositioning your feeder. Mourning doves are notorious ground feeders and tend to avoid elevated areas. By placing your feeder on a pole or hanging it higher up, you’ll make it more difficult for them to access the food.

Secondly, take a look at your feeder design. Are there large perches that allow bigger birds like doves to easily land and chow down? Consider switching to a design with smaller perches that only accommodate smaller songbirds.

Thirdly, try incorporating baffles into your setup. Baffles are essentially barriers that prevent larger birds from accessing the seeds while still allowing small birds through. You can purchase baffles online or even create your own using household materials!

Lastly, be patient and observe which tactics work best for deterring mourning doves in your area. Every backyard is different and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

Remember, keeping mourning doves out of your bird feeder requires some tinkering with both feeder placement and design as well as patience in finding what works best for you. Happy birdwatching!


In conclusion, keeping mourning doves out of your bird feeder may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and tools at your disposal, it can be easily accomplished. Elevating your feeder and using smaller perches will go a long way in deterring these persistent birds. Offering only small seeds and creating barriers around your feeder are also effective tactics.

As an avian wildlife expert, I can attest to the effectiveness of providing alternative food sources and utilizing visual deterrents such as shiny objects or predator decoys. And don’t forget to monitor and adjust your setup regularly for optimal results! With these tips in mind, you’ll soon have a peaceful and diverse array of feathered friends flocking to your yard without any pesky mourning doves stealing their share.

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