About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Tips to deter blackbirds from mobbing the feeder

I was hoping you can offer some advice on an ongoing spring problem in our yard. The blackbirds and starlings have started landing enmasse as I'm sure we are on their flight path after 25 years of feeding birds. I don't mind that they clean up areas under our feeders that have accumulated over the winter but they empty our feeders quickly and our resident birds get nothing. I have a number of niger feeders that they can't get on but our chickadees, sparrows, cardinals etc get chased away. Do you have any advice? We stop putting food out in the bigger feeders but see our regular birds looking so forlorn, it is heartbreaking. How long will it take for them to move on if we stop feeding them? Thank you.
I love it when the feeders are mobbed by the big, loud, blackbirds and starlings in the beginning of the year. They’re all excited! Unfortunately most of the bugs (their favorite summer food) haven’t
appeared yet and March means slim pickings for a lot of birds. So they turn to feasting at your feeders. And while I love all the activity, I know many people worry about the other birds they have been feeding all winter being pushed around. I've compiled some tips to deter the starlings and blackbirds, but still attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, and all the other less boisterous backyard birds.

Feeder Choices
  • Squirrel Buster Plus- This feeder is guaranteed Squirrel and large bird proof. You can exclude large nuisance birds with this feeder by rolling in the perches to make them short. You can also adjust the tension on the spring mechanism to have the feeder ports shut when large birds land. Blackbirds weigh twice as much as cardinals.
  • Upside Down Suet Feeder- a feeder that dispenses suet from the bottom doesn’t phase a woodpecker but will deter most blackbirds.
  • Finch Feeders- I’ve never had a problem with the blackbirds on any finch feeders that are filled with straight nyger thistle seed.
Food Choices
  • Use pure beef suet with no seeds
  • Switch to straight safflower seed: Start by offering safflower gradually, mixing it with the seed you currently use. Over time increase the amount of safflower until you are feeding straight safflower. The seed looks and tastes different from other bird seed, so it may take your birds some time to adjust. Safflower is a small, white seed that is high in protein and fat. Many favorite backyard birds - including jays, cardinals, chickadees, finches, doves, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches- savor safflower. Blackbirds, starlings, and squirrels typically refuse to eat safflower seed.
Related Articles:
· What are those birds that sit on the wires? http://bit.ly/y608rz
· Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/rSQtFD
· How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
· What birds like Safflower seed? http://bit.ly/w3ZBGa
· What do grackles eat? http://bit.ly/xBhX3j

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