Backyard Bird Predators

Which One Is The Number One Backyard Bird Predator?

(You will find links to more info related to this topic in the right column or bottom of page.)

The number one backyard bird predators are fed and housed by people. Many people think of "birds of prey" as the number one enemy of backyard birds, but they are not!

cats are bird predators

The most common peril for backyard birds are house cats. They kill more wild birds than any other predator. This presents a difficult dilemma for “kitty” owners who want to feed the birds in their own backyards.

If you have a cat there are ways that you can control the risk of backyard bird predators.

  • Keeping your cat indoors permanently will of course completely solve the problem, as far as your animal being the perpetrator is concerne
  • You can put a bell around your cat's neck.
  • Keep your pet on a leash while it is outdoors.
  • De-clawing your cat may also reduce the danger somewhat, but I have heard it’s not much of a deterrent for some cats. Cats are backyard bird predators by nature and will do what they do best. And... is it the best thing for your pet?

Then There’s The Neighbourhood Cats

house cats as predators

Then there are the other cats which live in your neighbourhood. They are harder to control. You may try speaking to your neighbourhood cat owners about keeping their pets indoors. Good luck with that! Or…

Methods For Deterring Cats, Squirrels, Raccoons etc.

squirrels bother nestlings
  • Hang your bird houses or feeders in locations where they cannot be easily reached.
  • You can mount them on an isolated pole in your yard.
  • Use baffles placed over the top or under the house or feeder to prevent backyard bird predators from reaching your bird house or feeder.(Just remember raccoons are larger and larger baffles are needed to keep them at bay.)
  • Use seed catchers under your feeders to prevent the seed from falling to the ground where birds who like to feed on the ground will dine. More on this to come next.

Bird Feeders Pose Particular Problems

house cats and wild birds

Bird feeders pose a special problem where cats are concerned because the birds often toss seed, deliberately or inadvertently from feeders.

This provides food for ground feeding birds, which is good, but it also serves well for felines, drawing wild birds where they are easy prey for all types of backyard bird predators, which we want to avoid.

A wide tray to catch the seed mounted under the feeder will work well if it is high enough that the cats cannot jump to it.

Chicken wire can be used to make a fence around the bird feeding area, high enough that cats cannot jump over.

Problems Specific to Bird Houses

racoons are songbird predators

Predator guards are available which can be mounted over the hole of a bird house. They make a tunnel entrance to the bird house. This makes it difficult for the arms and heads of predators, such as cats,  raccoons and squirrels, to reach in to grab eggs or young birds.

It is also helpful if the guard is made of metal, to prevent animals from chewing it off.

Removing perches from bird house entrances will help prevent predatory birds such as Starlings, Black Birds and Blue Jays, from getting into the house.

They are not clinging birds and will find it much harder to get close enough to the entrance to reach inside if there isn’t a perch.

Most birds which use bird houses are clinging birds and will not be hindered in anyway from using the bird house if it does not have a perch.

So it will not deter cavity nesters from using your bird houses to raise their young.

Birds Of Prey Are Harder To Dissuade

Hawks and other birds of prey pose another problem which may be harder to control. Some birds of prey feed primarily on song birds.

birds of prey at bird feeders

Placing bird feeders and bird houses in a location that is not visible from above may help.

Another answer to this backyard bird predators problem may be to stop using bird houses and more importantly bird feeders for a couple of weeks.

By taking your feeders in for a while the hunter may move on to other hunting grounds.

You really have no choice though, with a bird house once someone takes up residence. You may just have to accept the course of nature.


Snakes like to eat eggs and young birds too.

They will pose the biggest problem with pole mounted houses.

Baffles will provide a solution to this problem by using one that has a surface snakes find hard to navigate.

Most people who attract backyard birds will encounter a problem with backyard bird predators at one time or another.

A reader wrote a note to me from our “contact us” page relating their experience with a predator.

I only recently started bird watching when my husband and I had to move for his job. I knew no one in the area, so I set up a bird feeder. The next week I asked for another, now I have four, and can't wait to put out my hummingbird feeder! I love your web site, it is very informative, and interesting. We live about one mile from a river, so we get a lot of activity. I even had a hawk snare a finch off the feeder!! It both saddened and excited me.

This is my story.

We have had a Red Tailed Hawk around our home for a few years too. We often see and hear it flying over head. One day, as I sat on our deck, I heard “thump” and looked up to see a flurry of activity. Three or four Mourning Doves were flying in every direction. The Red Tail Hawk was in their midst. It appeared to be “frozen” in space. Perhaps its braking position was because it had suddenly noticed me. Then I saw a Mourning Dove lying on the ground under the dining room window. It had turned in its moment of terror in the wrong direction and struck the dining room window, causing the “thump” I had heard. As the reader above mentioned, witnessing an event like this is filled with mixed emotions.

house cats are songbird enemies

BUT, no matter what steps you take to prevent casualties from backyard bird predators, there is no sure solution. Animals will follow their natural instincts, even the "kitty" living in your home, or next door.

How To Fix Backyard Bird Feeding Problems Here & In Right Column:

> > Backyard Bird Predators

Become A Backyard Bird Expert

        Would you like to be a bird expert able to:

  • Know by sight all the birds that visit your backyard?
  • Identify the birds you hear on a walk?
  • Answer your Grandkids or friends question, "What bird is that?".

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