Protecting your backyard from bullying birds

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on August 05, 2020 with No Comments

Source: Blain’s Farm & Fleet

Your backyard is where you go to relax, and you’ve worked hard to turn it into a bird haven that’s full of colorful and beautifully sounding birds. The last thing you want is for bully birds to come in wreaking havoc and sending your birds to another yard. Save yourself some frustration and follow these tips to keep bully birds out and songbirds in.

Determining the Bully Bird

The first thing that needs to be done is for you to determine what bully birds you have in your yard; different birds require a different course of action in deterring them. Some common bully birds are listed below.

Blue Jays

While Blue Jays may be a pretty addition to your bird haven, they tend to cause quite a fiasco at the feeders, taking over and emptying them before smaller birds can get their turn. Unfortunately, Blue Jays are also very smart birds, so outwitting them with special Jay-proof feeders probably won’t work. Your best bet is to provide them a separate feeder in an isolated area where they are out of the way of smaller birds. A hopper feeder filled with peanuts or sunflower seeds is recommended for these birds.


With their shiny, iridescent feathers, they are a beautiful sight, but, much like Blue Jays, Grackles can take over your feeders, which will discourage smaller songbirds from sticking around. Luckily, these birds can be more easily out smarted than Blue Jays, so you can either purchase perchless feeders or simply remove the perches from the feeders you already own to prevent these birds from landing on your feeders. Smaller birds don’t need to use a perch, so they will still be able to feed just fine.

If you continue to have a problem, you can also use Nyjer or Safflower seeds, which are types of feeds that larger birds typically don’t like.


These boisterous birds are known to be one of the more aggressive bully birds, chasing smaller, and even larger birds like owls and woodpeckers, away from birdhouses and feeders. Starlings love suet and can eat an entire suet cake in a single day, which can start to cost you a pretty penny. To deter these birds away from your suet, look for Starling-proof feeders, which only allows food access from the bottom, or place your suet feeder beneath a squirrel baffle. To keep them away from birdhouses, install a small mirror in the back of the birdhouse. The starlings will be startled by their reflection and fly away. This method doesn’t seem to frighten other birds, so the birds you want will still continue to use the houses.

Blackbirds, Pigeons, and Crows

Since these birds are typically ground-feeders, food that falls onto the ground from other birds is what attracts them to your feeders, and they will eat until there’s nothing left for your more desirable birds. To deter these ground-feeders, place a tray beneath your feeder to catch any food that’s cast away by other birds, preventing it from landing on the ground. You can also purchase feeders with weighted perches that covers the food when heavier birds, such as blackbirds, crows, and pigeons, land on the perch.

Other Suggestions:

  • Use a rubber-coated mesh that surrounds typical feeders to allow only smaller birds to pass through, while larger bully birds are unable to fit.
  • To deter suet-loving bullies, place a long perch through the suet cage and place small soda bottles over the perch on each side. When the bully birds land on them, the bottles will spin and the bird will roll off the perch. Small birds are too light to spin the bottles, so they can continue to use the feeder. Otherwise, they will just cling to the suet cage to eat.
  • Offering a variety of feeders and seed can give bully birds and songbirds their own space to eat in peace. Place them in different parts of your yard, preferably with some out of sight of each other. Bully birds can’t guard feeders that they can’t see.
  • Finally, play music. This tactic is mainly used in gardens where birds like to steal fruits and veggies, but setting up a radio in your garden will scare away most birds and keep your produce safe.

Source: Blain’s Farm & Fleet


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