How to Keep Mourning Doves Away from the Bird Feeder

How to Keep Mourning Doves Away from the Bird Feeder

An image of a mourning dove at a bird house.

Question

I have the blackbirds under control, but how about the Doves?

It seems like they will eat any kind of seed, and I think they have started having “Sleep-overs on my platform feeder.”

I hate to get rid of the platform because some of the bigger birds that I like come to it, only.

I think I have probably stumped you with this one, but I’m open to any ideas.

Thanks, from Terri

Hi Terri,

You are not alone in wanting to get rid of Mourning Doves, I hear this complaint from time to time.

I have never wanted to get rid of the Mourning Doves as I do like watching and listening to them.

But they must be managed, or their interesting behavior will not be enjoyed.

I have always felt they added an interesting part to my backyard feeding fun.

Their “Dracula” like stance that the males take on, with their shoulders hunched up and head forward, hopping after the females in the spring, just cracks me up and I would not want to miss it.

But, to keep them from hogging the whole bird feeding area is necessary if you want to see other types of birds, I agree.

Just to mention here for all who read this, it is unlawful to harm in any way birdlife in North America, except House Sparrows and European Starlings who are still considered invasive species, even after over one hundred years of being here.

Our Mourning Doves where we live now, often occupy the birdbath or the chalet feeder.

The Mourning Doves sit all around the edge of the birdbath especially in the evening all year long.

Some facing outwards with their tails trailing in the water and others will sit facing in towards the water.

They seem to have the area well covered with eyes focused in all directions looking for signs of “It’s time to flee!”

And, I agree sleep-overs seem likely, as they are often at the birdbath, well after most birds, even the late evening diners like Cardinals, have long left for the night.

But they don’t mind if other birds want to share the space, from time to time.

To solve this for the other birds who need a drink, I put out another birdbath with a very thin edge that the Mourning Doves can not comfortably sit on, for a length of time. You can see it here, I made it myself, My Homemade Bird Bath

So, birdbath monopolizing by Mourning Doves, to the extent that other birds cannot drink, or bathe is fixed.

How To Stop Mourning Doves Taking Over A Bird Feeder

If you want to keep your platform feeder then you have a challenge.

Here are 2 suggestions that I have seen other people use with good success:

  1. Put a roof over your platform feeder. It should be about 8 to 10 inches high and extend 4 to 5 inches wider on all 4 sides of the feeding floor.

    Bluejays, Cardinals, and other larger birds will be able to fly in, but the Mourning Doves are not agile enough to swoop in under the roof and hop onto the feeding floor.
  2. Get a piece of wire fencing that has approximately 4-inch openings. Attach it over the platform feeder in a high arch 10 to 12 inches high. A staple gun can be used to secure the fencing on both sides. Cut the remaining fencing to fit both open ends. Attach the end fencing pieces to the arched pieces using zip ties. You can leave it to extend out the sides or trim it off with wire cutters.

    Again, Mourning Doves are not agile enough to land and duck inside the wire cage, but other birds will be.

I hope this helps to make your platform feeder once again a favorite and enjoyable feeder!

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