Most people who attract backyard birds will encounter a problem with backyard bird predators at one time or another.
How to Protect Songbirds from Birds of Prey?
Hawks and other birds of prey pose another problem which may be harder to control. Some birds of prey feed primarily on songbirds.
The following results were reported for percentage of songbirds making up the whole diet of these birds of prey:
Sharpe-shinned Hawks 96%
Cooper's Hawk 55%
Marsh Hawk 41%
How can We Help in the Unfair Advantage that Our Feeders Give Hawks?
Placing bird feeders and bird houses in a location that is not visible from above and close to cover for escape will help.
Another answer to this backyard bird predator 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 a family takes up residence. You may just have to accept the course of nature.
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What is the Danger from Snakes?
Snakes pose the biggest problem at bird houses. They like to eat eggs and young birds too.
Baffles will provide a solution to this problem by using one that has a surface snakes find hard to navigate which is too smooth and slippery for them to navigate.
How to Protect Birds in Your Backyard?
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 most of the seed from falling to the ground where birds who like to feed on the ground will dine. This of course makes them more vulnerable to attack. More on this to come next.
Stop Squirrels With a Pole Mount Baffle Or Hanging Baffle Above
pose a special problems where cats and birds of prey are concerned.
Bird Feeders draw birds where they are exposed to aerial attacks by birds of prey. and because the songbirds often
toss seed, deliberately or inadvertently from feeders, they are easy to catch by cats as they feed on the fallen seed.
The fallen seed provides
food for ground feeding
birds, which is good, but it also serves well for felines, drawing wild
birds where they are easy prey, which we want to avoid.
Ground feeders themselves which are a favourite style of feeder for attracting many types of birds make it easy for cats.
Predator guards are available which can be mounted over the hole of a bird house. Some 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.
And some predator guards are flat pieces of metal which prevent predators from chewing the entrance hole bigger.
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.
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. We often see and hear it flying over head.
One day, as I was sitting 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-tailed Hawk was in their midst. It appeared to be “frozen” in mid air. 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.
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 Other Backyard Bird Feeding Problems
Window Bird Strikes Most people who feed wild birds will unfortunately experience birds flying into their windows from time to time. It is a very distressing occurrence and one that can be avoided. Let’s find out how.