The Avant-Garden Shop: Your Garden & Bird Store

GARDEN GATE: Episode 290 – Keeping out the squirrels! (April 12, 2024)

In the last episode Brenda talked about keeping grackles and starlings away from feeders. This week is about keeping the squirrels off. The Brome Squirrel Buster feeders are really the best option. These are triggered to close with the weight of a squirrel. Another great option is to put a baffle on your pole. These … Read more

GARDEN GATE: Episode 288 – The Return of the Grackles (March 15, 2024)

It’s that time again. The grackles have returned and many people are asking how to get rid of them and the starlings. As these birds are invasive it’s a good idea to try to deter them from visiting. Here’s a few tips that can help.  As soon as they start showing up, you want to … Read more

GARDEN GATE: Episode 279 – Squirrel Buster Suet! (Nov 10, 2023)

It’s getting colder so that means it’s time to get out your suet feeders! Suet is easily digestible fat and calories which provides fast energy for hungry birds. In this episode the Squirrel Buster Suet is in the spotlight. This is a great feeder to keep the squirrels from devouring all the tasty suet before … Read more

Garden Tips: Squirrels at Your Bird Feeder

Keeping squirrels away from feeders can be a constant effort. They eat a lot of seed, which makes maintaining your feeder more costly. They also dominate the feeder, scaring the birds we want to attract away. There’s another good reason to reduce squirrel and chipmunk access to your bird seed: they eat bird eggs and … Read more

Garden Gate: Episode 52-Discouraging large birds

CHEX TV airdate: Friday Dec. 12th, 2014 Click link to watch it here! Finch feederFeeding and watching the birds is a wonderful past time. ?You can spend hours watching the chickadees coming in to grab a seed one after another. ?Polite little birds! Then there are the goldfinches. They have such a pretty song, I could listen to them all day. They will come in large flocks and sit all day taking turns eating your Nyger seed. Bright red Cardinals appear and we almost jump for joy! ?When they are courting or have little ones to feed you might enjoy dad helping to pass on a seed or two. ?FUN! Aww, bsb+ut then the fun ends. Sir Squirrel or Gastly Grackle moves in….birds fly away and these two devour everything in site! On this episode of The Garden Gate, I’ll give you some tips on types of feeders that discourage squirrels and grackles as well as bird food that they don’t like. Feel free to drop in to see these feeders or to get more information. We’re here to help and to make your back yard bird feeding more enjoyable! Note: we do not recommend bird food with cayenne. ?If a squirrel gets the cayenne pepper in their eyes they can do serious damage to their eyes. ?Also, it has been shown that it affects birds stomachs. They can’t necessarily taste it, but their little tummies don’t like it. ?

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

The Avant-Garden Shop