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Discouraging Large Birds

Caged feeder

Need help managing larger birds in your yard?

There are lots of tricks at your disposal to discourage larger birds from invading your feeders! Choosing the right feeder is the best place to start.

Globe Feeders ? Baffles ? Diversion Feeders ? Weight sensitive Feeders

Who isn’t discouraged when…large birds descend on our bird feeders, frightening off our smaller birds? Yet blue jays, grackles, redwing blackbirds, doves and pigeons are native birds and they have their place in Nature’s scheme of things. We can welcome them, but on our terms, not theirs! With knowledge of specific feeders and food choices, we can manage the larger birds and allow our small birds to feed in peace.

Let’s take advantage of the fact that chickadees, nuthatches and titmice are agile clingers who easily feed at small, free-swinging globe feeders with no perches. Globe feeders are available in various sizes we can help you decide which size works best for your individual large bird issue. Fill your globe with black oil sunflower seed, loved by small birds and not so much by larger birds. Large birds find it virtually impossible to balance on free-swinging perchless globes and will soon leave them alone.

Here’s a quick solution to protecting your suet feeder from invaders–simply hang a dome shaped baffle over your suet basket to prevent starlings and grackles from landing. Baffles are available in metal or plastic.

Weight sensitive feeders such as the Squirrel Buster Plus have mechanisms that shroud access to seed. This spring device can be adjusted to disallow some heavier birds such as Grackles and Pigeons. If the large birds do a little flying dance, while holding onto the cardinal ring, and gain access to a few seeds, try removing the cardinal ring and shortening the perches. (Remember to loosen and retighten the wing nut on the bottom of the feeder to adjust the perch length.) This makes it pretty much impossible for these birds to grab any seeds since they are just too big and not agile enough to hold on to the small perches and flutter long enough. They give up pretty quickly. I have also found that if you deter access to your feeders for a couple of weeks, the birds go away and most often don’t return. You can add your cardinal ring again once the birds are gone for a couple of weeks.

Caged feeders are another option to keep large birds away. They are feeders such as the Droll Yankees tube feeder enclosed in a cage. Only the small birds can fit through the cage openings, eliminating the large birds from gaining access to the seeds as well as the squirrels. It can take a while for birds to get use to these feeders, so I suggest that you remove your other feeders to encourage the birds to go to the new feeder. Once they begin using it, you can bring back your other feeders.

Finally, set up a diversion feeding area for those big birds, and locate it well away from the smaller feeders. For this you want a large and broad platform feeder with plenty of room to land and perch. Fill it with inexpensive seed blends that include corn and millet, favourite foods of blackbirds and doves. Add peanuts and a few sunflower seeds for the jays. Squirrels will be diverted to this area as well. Platform feeders range from simple models constructed of wood, to long-lasting durable resin materials.

With the smaller birds on their special feeders and the large birds congregating on the platform feeder, you’ll enjoy a greater variety of birds in a peaceful setting!

Available at The Avant-Garden Shop: Caged feeders, Globe feeders, Squirrel Buster Plus, Tube feeders, Perch less tube feeders, Baffles

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