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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  • I live in Southeastern Massachusetts. Four "orphaned" very young poults (males) showed up in my yard about a year ago. They have been around all year. I do feed them cracked corn, and they come when I call for them. I don't want to over- domesticate them, but they do recognize me as the lady that brings food. They roost in the big oak trees at night. I have a 1 acre lot, with many acres of protected forest out back and a pond on the property.Lately, during mating season, I have had hens in the yard too. We've counted as many as 7 Toms and hens, but today, had just the one stalwart (a very robust Tom) that comes everyday. One of the Toms that has recently made an appearance is wounded, limping with an obvious predator wound. The local wildlife experts say he should make a full recovery, and that he's best left to recover with his flock.I find them to be interesting and beautiful birds.
    by Heather Cole, Mon, 06 Apr 2020
  • You have to put food in it.
    by Truckee Man, Mon, 06 Apr 2020
  • Love listeningto both songs and calls from birds in our woody neighborhood. The two types of birds I immediately recognize are the cardinals and the chickadees. Yesterday afternoon too, I heard a woodpecker. Then it’s time to check the birdfeeders and the birdbath. Then In no time at all the cardinals and chickadees arrive, as if they had been watching me. As it gets busier around the feeders, I also hear thé screeching of the blue jays. I even saw a couple of robins checking out our lawn....spring has arrived as the last pat gesofisticeerde snow and ice melt away.
    by louisabt, Sun, 08 Mar 2020
  • I am wondering about existing nests for Phoebes. I have two outdoor aisle entries to my barn and there are old Phoebe nests up. They ignore them each year and build new nests adjacent to the old, but space is running out. Should I knock down the old nests so they can rebuild?
    by [email protected], Sun, 02 Feb 2020
  • Just wondering, should we put anything in the bottom of the box...twigs, clippings, leaves....anything at all?
    by Hebb, Tue, 28 Jan 2020