During winter, sometimes we want to support our bird friends out in the cold. Bird feeders are a great way to bring a little Spring into your backyard while helping your bird community. Some bird species are more aggressive than others and are more likely to take over feeder space and crowd out other bird visitors.

Bully Bird species are:

  • Crows
  • Grackles
  • Pigeons
  • Sparrows
  • Starlings

One or two of these birds at your feeders does not mean you have a bully problem, but when the flocks start and the feeders become crowded with the same species, other birds will have trouble getting to feed, and the bullies will take over.

No bird purposely causes harm, but bully bird species are naturally more aggressive and territorial towards feeding areas and will protect food sources exclusively for their use. To discourage this behavior, try these five methods:

Catch seeds: Often bullies will eat the food that the other birds drop on the ground. To solve this, place a trash bin under a hanging feeder. The bullies are not likely to fly into the container to retrieve the discarded seed.

Shortening Perches: Larger bully birds need to balance themselves when they’re at a feeder, but smaller birds can often hover long enough to take a seed without the necessity of a pole. Removing perches from tube feeders can reduce how many bully birds use the feeder. Thus, eliminating trays at the bottom of feeders will exclude space for larger bullies.

Avoid Ground Feeding: Many bully birds like easy feeding areas such as ground feeders or trays. Removing these feeding locations will minimize the food available to bullies, and they are likely to move along to more accessible food sources.

Hang mirrors: Birdhouses for woodpeckers, wood ducks and owls are often taken over by starlings. To keep these pests away, place a small mirror on the back wall facing the entryway. When starlings see their “scary” reflections, they flee, the mirror doesn’t seem to discourage other birds.

Weight-Activated Feeders: This type of feeder was initially designed to exclude squirrels but also keeps out bully birds. When a large bird or squirrel lands on the perch, it closes the feeding ports, preventing them from accessing the food, but smaller birds are light enough to get to it. This type of feeder can be useful against larger bully birds or flocks.

Are squirrels or raccoons also taking over your bird feeders as well? If all else fails, contact our Animal Control Experts HERE, we can find a safe and humane solution that will leave plenty of room at the feeder for songbirds.