How Do I Keep Black Birds Away From My Feeder?

Blackbirds, Grackles and Starlings can empty a bird feeder in no time flat! There are a few things you can try to make them eat less or go away.

1. Place a variety of feeders in your yard, including "thistle" feeders and suet feeders.

2. Put a cage or screen around your seed feeders so only smaller birds can get to the food. Build your own using chicken wire or buy one of the commercial bird feeders made especially to solve this problem.

3. Use a Hopper type feeder with a weighted perch that closes when a heavy bird (or squirrel) lands on it.

4. Keep bird seed off the ground and stop filling your platform feeder for a week. Blackbirds and Starlings may get discouraged and move on.

5. Shorten the perches on your tube feeders. The smaller birds (Goldfinches, Chickadees and Titmice) will be able to eat but larger birds will not be able to land.

6. If Starlings are eating all your suet, try a feeder that required the birds to hang upside down. Woodpeckers can eat like that, but Starlings hate it.

7. Never buy seed mixes containing milo. Blackbirds are the only birds that seem to like milo! Blackbirds also like millet and cracked corn, but few of the colorful songbirds eat these seeds. You might try offering safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds in your tube feeders.

8. Learn to appreciate Blackbirds. All black birds are not the same! What exactly is coming to your feeder? Can you identify a female Red-winged Blackbird? Here are some of the "Blackbirds" found in the U.S. and Canada:

European Starling
Common Grackle (Interior & Coastal form)
Boat-tailed Grackle
Great-tailed grackle
Red-winged Blackbird
Tri-colored Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Shiny Cowbird
Bronzed Cowbird