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 a 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 birdhouses 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 birdhouse once a family takes up residence. You may just have to accept the course of nature.
What is the Danger of Snakes?
Snakes pose the biggest problem at birdhouses. They like to eat eggs and young birds too.
Baffles will provide a solution to this problem by using one that has 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 birdhouses 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 birdhouse 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
What Particular Problems do Bird Feeders Pose?
Bird feeders pose a special problem 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 favorite style of feeder for attracting many types of birds make it easy for cats.
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.
How high can some house cats jump? 6 feet!
My Recommendations for Catching Seed
& Shells to Prevent a Mess on the Ground
High Quality Seed Makes Less Mess
Because More Seed is Eaten & Not Tossed on the Ground,
You Can Also Use Shelled Seed
What Problems are Specific to Bird Houses?
- Predator guards are available which can be mounted over the hole of a birdhouse. Some make a tunnel entrance to the birdhouse. 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 birdhouse 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 that use birdhouses are clinging birds and will not be hindered in any way from using the birdhouse if it does not have a perch.
Let Predator Guards be Your Bird Guardians
A reader wrote a note to me relaying
their experience with a predator.
This is my story…
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.
- Starlings & Blackbirds The starlings and blackbirds are taking over my feeders. What can I do?
- Unwelcome Guests at Hummingbird Feeders Hummingbird feeder nectar can attract other creatures too besides the little birds they are intended to feed.