Ken from USA asked:
The Starlings and Blackbirds are taking over my feeders! What can I do?
Thank you for asking! This is a huge problem for many people when backyard bird feeding.
It is very discouraging when the European Starlings and Blackbirds decide to make your feeding station their favorite dining spot.
There are other “bully” birds too including Grackles, Pigeons, European Starlings and even House Sparrows.
But there are a few things you can do to hinder their success.
Many of the techniques described here will work for all or some of the “bully” birds listed here, even though this article mostly mentions Starlings and Blackbirds.
Use the best bird feeders recommended here for defeating bully birds.
1. Hang feeders with
adjustable perches that are triggered by weight. When a heavier bird
lands on it the perch drops down locking the seed port from being
accessed. The perches can be adjusted to the weight of the bird you want
to exclude. The Squirrel Buster or the Yankee Flipper are the most effective of this style of feeder in my experience.
2. Clean out your feeders well and then fill them with safflower seed only. Some birds love safflower, especially Cardinals, Chickadees and Nuthatches, but most birds do not. Including Starlings and some Blackbirds. Keep this up for 2-3 weeks and hopefully the unwanted ones will move on.
3. Use tube feeders which Starlings and Blackbirds cannot sit on. You could put up 2 or 3 offering sunflower seed, nyjer seed and peanuts’n-shell. Just make sure the perches are short enough 1 to 1 1/2-inch-long so that small birds can still use them but the larger birds you do not want cannot sit on them. Wider tube feeders are also better than narrow ones, to prevent them from hanging onto one side and reaching around to eat from the other side.
4. A peanut’n-shell feeder will be successful in leaving out the Starlings as they are not strong enough to crack the shells. And just a caveat, Starlings love bread, doughnuts, muffins or any other baked goods! So keep a table style feeder off on its own to feed this type of food if you wish.
5. Stop filling your feeders that the bully birds are visiting for 2-3 weeks and hopefully they will move on to another location. But the draw back to this is of course that you will lose the birds you want to see for a while too. But they will return!
6. Hang a dome baffle over top of a suet feeder. Starlings are reluctant to go under things and will very likely not bother with this feeder while it is under a baffle.
With a carefully planned strategy you can acheive tranquility at your bird feeders without the bully birds like Starlings and Blackbirds dominating the show.
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