Want to learn how to keep blackbirds away from bird feeders?
Watching birds in your backyard is such a great experience. But that doesn’t last long if you get overrun by blackbirds.
Blackbirds may seem harmless at first. But, you soon realize they are aggressive, greedy and will scare away all the birds you enjoy watching.
And I know you’ll be feeling frustrated at having to shell out for more and more bird food as they clear your feeders out almost daily.
The secret is, you have to know how to attract the birds you want to your yard, whilst keeping the bully birds at bay. This guide will show you how to do just that.
Otherwise, I recommend sticking around for all you need to know on keeping the blackbirds from your feeders. These tips will also help you avoid other large pest birds at your feeders such as pigeons, grackles, and starlings.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
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How to Keep Blackbirds Away From Bird Feeders
1. Feeder type
The first thing you have to consider is the feeders that you are already using.
My guess is that the blackbirds are getting easy access to your bird seed.
That means you’ll likely have a platform, tray, or ground feeder in your yard. Am I right?
These types of feeders are not ideal if you have a blackbird problem.
Also, don’t be fooled by the fact that they are ground feeders. I have a particularly determined pair of blackbirds this year who use my tube feeders.
I’ve watched as the male blackbird clings on for dear life at a platform feeder and scoops the seed on the ground with its head for the chicks.
So how do you stop that?
My recommendation would be to use only feeders which the smaller birds can use easily.
This includes tube-style feeders with short perches. That way the blackbirds can’t feeder from these easily.
You can also use a weight-activated feeder. This style of feeder is great because it only allows the smaller birds access to the food inside. The blackbirds will be too heavy to open it up.
2. Use the right food
I’m going to let you into a little secret here.
What if I told you that there was birdseed that blackbirds hate to eat. And that adding this to your feeder is likely to keep the blackbirds well away from your feeder?
No, I’m not offering you magic beans! It actually exists.
Safflower seed is a bird food that most desirable birds such as chickadees, cardinals, thrushes, and songbird love. And the best part is that blackbirds, starlings, and squirrels find it far too bitter to eat.
Another great thing to know is that blackbirds are soft-billed. That means they can handle seeds with a hard hull.
With that knowledge, I would highly recommend offering a mix of hulled sunflower seeds (black oil and striped) and safflower seeds.
The blackbirds will not enjoy this mix at all. Offering this mix for a good few weeks will see the majority of blackbirds leave your feeders alone and search for an easier food source.
3. Don’t use the wrong food
We’ve discussed the foods that the blackbirds don’t like, but what about the ones they do like?
After all, offering up a favorite seed is a sure-fire way to attract them to your yard for more.
Blackbirds seem to have a love for milo. It’s a seed that most other birds avoid but somehow blackbirds enjoy it.
Other bird foods to avoid in your feeders are millet, corn, and sunflower hearts. If you offer these foods you are actively attracting blackbirds to your yard.
The best way to avoid using these seeds is to stop using commercial bird seed. These are crammed full of these cheap filler seeds such as milo and millet. Most songbirds don’t really like these seeds.
Try mixing your own blend of especially seeds like I suggest above. This is the best way to attract specific bids and keep annoying birds away.
4. use barriers
Another way around stopping the blackbirds at your feeders is by stopping them from getting near your birdfeed in the first place.
Let’s look at the two most common types of feeder barriers to keep the blackbird out.
Cage feeders are large metal square grids that wrap around your feeder. You can get them for tube, platform, or suet feeders.
The idea is that the metal squares are large enough to keep the blackbirds out, but enough room for the small birds to get in and feed easily. Simple huh?
If you’re interested in this style of feeder, this Droll Yankees one is a great pick.
The drawback is these feeders can get really pricey. Although the amount of money you’d save on not having to buy more birdseed when the blackbirds clear you out would probably make up for that!
A more budget-friendly way to stop the blackbirds from getting into your feeder is to use a dome.
This device is like a plastic umbrella top that hangs over your feeder. The plastic acts as a barrier that stops the blackbirds from getting into the food. Then the blackbirds are too large but the songbirds are small enough to still use the feeder.
Feeder domes (like this one) are also perfect for protecting your feeders from the rain and snow. Plus if you have problems with squirrels emptying your feeders it will help to keep them off too.
5. offer a distraction
Even with the best will in the world, you won’t stop determined blackbirds from getting to your feeders.
If you’ve tried most ways to get rid of blackbirds from your yard but still find them coming around that can be frustrating.
In that situation, I’d recommend that you keep their activity contained by offering them an area they can feed. That way your songbirds can feed in peace.
A ground feeder full of cheap mixed bird seed, tucked away in a hidden area of your yard should do the trick.
Do that together with the other tips in this guide. That way you don’t have to see the blackbirds and they’ll stay away from your good feeders.
You may even be able to distract a few other annoying birds such as pigeons, starlings, and grackles.
Over time you may eventually grow to love at least tolerate the blackbirds in your backyard.
This guide has helped you learn how to keep blackbirds away from bird feeders.
Blackbirds can be a real nuisance at your birdfeeders. You’ll find they can be aggressive and greedy, which keeps the lovely birds away.
We’ve gone over 5 ways to keep blackbirds away from your bird feeders:
- Use the right feeder
- Use the right food
- Avoid food they love
- Use a barrier
- Offer a distraction
If you don’t have success with one of the techniques alone, then try a combination for a few. Determined blackbirds won’t give up a good food source easily.
Let me know if these tips work for you or if you have any other suggestions for the Birds + Wild readers.