Jul 10, 2019 | Featured Web Article

How to Keep Pigeons From Your Feeder

Besides being considered pests, pigeons are also famous feeder bullies and hogs. They'll gobble up as much food as possible while scaring smaller songbirds away.

We've all known the joy of watching birds frequent our backyard feeders. When a flock of rock pigeons moves into the neighborhood, however, you might have a problem on your hands. These birds, the feral progeny of domesticated rock doves, have a reputation for creating large amounts of acidic, property-damaging waste, and for carrying disease. This has prompted some communities to ban wild bird feeding in an effort to deter large flocks from making themselves at home. If you feel that your feeders are at risk of being overrun by rock pigeons, there are steps you can take to curtail their efforts before you have a massive nuisance on your hands.

Use a Different Feeder

Besides being considered pests, pigeons are also famous feeder bullies and hogs. They'll gobble up as much food as possible while scaring smaller songbirds away. To deter pigeons from overrunning your backyard, select a feeder that’s specially designed to accommodate only smaller birds, such as a tube feeder. Some tube feeder styles include a protective cage that prevents larger birds from accessing the contents. If you use a platform feeder, you may be able to install a wire mesh cage to keep out pigeons and other large birds. Alternatively, you could invest in a weight-activated feeder with feeder ports that automatically close when a squirrel or large bird lands on the perch. Smaller, lightweight birds will not trigger the ports to close when they alight, and so will have no problem retaining access to the seeds inside.

Switch Your Seeds

If you'd still like to welcome jays and similar-sized birds to your backyard, you don't necessarily have to install feeders that accommodate only small species. You can try to keep pigeons away from your feeding stations by offering larger seeds such as striped sunflower and peanuts in the shell. Pigeons eat seeds by swallowing them whole, so the new super-sized seeds will not be a dining option for them. Jays, on the other hand, will enjoy and appreciate the shelled peanuts.

Alter Their Perch

A final idea to keep rock pigeons away from your feeders is to study where the invasive birds like to perch. Pigeons are typically most comfortable roosting on flat surfaces, such as window ledges. Forget trying to trick them into thinking predators are near by setting up plastic owls or rubber snakes; if they're effective at first, they won't be for long. Instead, install old CDs, Mylar balloons, aluminum pie plates, or noisy windchimes to introduce flashes of light and unexpected sounds to their environment. You could also staple plastic bags to perch surfaces, so that they will unexpectedly rustle in the breeze to make the roost sites unwelcoming.

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  • Thank you for sharing some things to take into consideration when it comes to backyard renovation, this is very timely as I'm planning to turn a portion of my backyard into some sort of patio while maintaining a nice open lawn area as well. I saw some outdoor furniture and outdoor decor on this website and after reading this article, I checked them out again and I found more stuff that I would love to buy for my new patio.
    by Eleonor Baker, Thu, 15 Apr 2021
  • Something is wrong with the Goldfinches in April 2021. I had to stop putting seed in our feeder because the birds seem to have a hard time flying. That attracts our cats, and I do not want to feed the cats. I have actually picked up two birds that seemed to be struggling to fly and tossed one into the air and another on a large pile of leaves. They took off, but they are very lethargic.
    by Beasleyhillman, Sat, 03 Apr 2021
  • How does one attract Calif Scrub Jays?? Due to neighbors outdoor cats most of birds are gone except a fee hummingbirds.
    by Dee Opde, Sun, 21 Mar 2021
  • You are talking about "black oil sunflower seeds" but showing regular striped sunflower seeds. There is a BIG difference! There is MUCH less waste with the black oil seeds. Plus they are easier for small birds to eat. They are both shown here: https://www.horsefeedblog.c...
    by Carolyn King, Sat, 20 Mar 2021
  • How long do other seeds stay fresk? Sunflower seeds? Millet? Safflower?
    by Sue, Sat, 06 Feb 2021