How to Keep Black Birds Away from Bird Feeder

Are blackbirds and grackles ruining your bird-feeder joy? This guide will help you deter them. You'll see your yard become a friendly space for other birds. We'll share tips on how to enjoy your feeder without these pesky guests.

Understanding the Nuisance Birds

First, you need to know the types of birds causing trouble at your feeder. Bully birds often include crows, pigeons, cowbirds, grackles, magpies, jays, and more.

These birds usually come for the easy-to-reach food. For example, grackles, crows, and blackbirds like bread, corn, and sunflower seeds. Others, like finches and cardinals, prefer nyjer seed and safflower seed.

Many of these birds causing problems are not from here and can be deterred. Knowing what they like to eat and how they act is key. This helps keep them from your feeder.

Nuisance Bird Species
Preferred Food Sources
American Crows, Rock Pigeons, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles
Bread, corn, millet, wheat, sunflower seeds
Finches, Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches
Nyjer seed (thistle), safflower seed

Deterring Unwanted Visitors

Grackles and other big birds can be a nightmare at your bird feeder. They eat a lot and leave a mess. But, don't worry. You can keep them away with the right moves. This way, you'll see more of your favorite songbirds.

Changing the bird feeder type is a good start. Try hanging feeders with tiny perches. Finches will love them, but they'll keep grackles away. A suet feeder that's hard to reach from the top is great for chickadees. It also stops grackles. Feeders with small openings in wire cages are another smart choice.

Offer foods that the birds you want love. Nyjer seed for finches and safflower seed for cardinals work well. Using a baffle for suet or special suet feeders can draw in the birds you prefer. This makes it less attractive for big, pesky birds.

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Keeping your feeding area tidy is key. Use seed catchers to avoid messes. This stops grackles and pigeons from hanging out. Cleaning around your feeders often will also help keep birds away.

Combining these tactics is a powerful way to deal with unwanted birds. You'll still get to enjoy your lovely songbirds at the feeder.

How to Keep Black Birds Away from Bird Feeder

Handling big, pushy birds like blackbirds and grackles around your feeder can be hard. Yet, you can use a few tricks to discourage them. This will help keep your bird-watching fun and peaceful.

Try putting up a barrier. Use large-mesh hardware cloth or chicken wire with 2-inch holes. It keeps the big birds away. But, smaller birds can still eat. You can also try using caged feeders or putting trays inside a protective cage to help.

Another trick is to use nyjer seeds only in some feeders. These seeds are also known as thistle seeds. Birds like blackbirds don’t like this food. If you like seeing cardinals, chickadees, and nuthatches, use safflower seeds. These seeds don’t appeal to the big, pushy birds.

Feeder Type
Seed Type
Effectiveness in Deterring Blackbirds
Caged Feeders
Nyjer Seed
Highly Effective
Hopper/Tray Feeders
Safflower Seed
Moderately Effective
Tube Feeders with Shortened Perches
Variety of Seeds

Using these methods together can make a big difference. They help keep unwanted birds away from your feeders. This way, the birds you want to see the most can have a better chance at enjoying the food you put out.

Using the Right Feeders

To keep blackbirds and other unwanted birds away, you need to pick the right feeders. Choose cage-style feeders that let small birds in but keep large ones out. This way, birds like bluebirds get to eat without big birds bothering them.

Another good choice is upside-down suet feeders. Starlings often avoid these because they have to go underneath to eat. These feeders keep your backyard welcoming for preferred birds by discouraging larger, dominant species.

Feeder Type
Effectiveness in Deterring Blackbirds
Cage-style Feeders
Allows smaller birds to access food while preventing larger birds like grackles and blackbirds from reaching the feed
Upside-down Suet Feeders
Deters starlings, which are reluctant to go underneath the feeder to access the suet
Tube Feeders
Starlings and other large birds have difficulty accessing the seed from the deep, narrow ports
Weight-activated Feeders
Close off access when heavy birds like blackbirds land, allowing smaller birds to feed undisturbed
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Choose the right feeders to keep out blackbirds. Cage-style and upside-down suet feeders work best. They make your yard friendly for the birds you like, while keeping the ones you don’t like away. This is how you maintain a healthy balance in your yard.

Seed Selection Matters

Choosing the right seed can keep unwanted birds away. Birds like blackbirds and grackles don't like certain seeds. They often pick on bread, corn, millet, and sunflower seeds. So, it's smarter to offer foods they usually don't fancy.

Nyjer seed, often called thistle seed, is loved by finches but not by blackbirds or grackles. Safflower seed is also great because it's a treat for cardinals and chickadees. Yet, grackles and blackbirds don't find it appealing.

Some seeds, like striped sunflower and safflower, have thick shells. This makes it hard for certain birds to eat them. By using these, you might see fewer blackbirds at your feeder.

Seed Type
Birds Attracted
Birds Deterred
Nyjer (Thistle) Seed
Blackbirds, Grackles
Safflower Seed
Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches
Blackbirds, Grackles
Striped Sunflower Seed
Many songbirds
Blackbirds, Grackles

Patience is key when you're trying to keep off these birds. They're smart and might keep checking your feeder. Choosing the right seed can make your bird feeder a happier place for your favorite birds.

Keeping the Feeding Area Clean

It's important to keep bird feeding areas clean. This helps avoid unwanted birds like grackles and pigeons. These birds are often attracted to the seed on the ground. This can scare off smaller birds you really want to see.

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One way to stop this is by using a deep container. You can use a plastic garbage can or a pail. Place this container at the bottom of the feeder pole. It will catch the seeds that fall. This prevents the ground from getting messy and stops pest birds from coming.

Another choice is a seed hoop or catcher tray. They keep the area tidy by collecting the seeds that drop. This stops the spread of seeds on the ground. By doing this, you make your space more inviting for the right birds.

Feeder Accessory
Plastic Garbage Can or Pail
Collects fallen seed to prevent ground litter
Highly effective in containing spilled seed and deterring nuisance birds
Seed Hoop or Seed Catcher Tray
Catches dropped seed to prevent ground accumulation
Moderately effective in managing spilled seed and deterring some larger birds

These easy steps keep the area clean. This ensures the small birds find your feeder welcoming. They can eat without being bothered by bigger, unwanted birds.


By using the tips in this guide, bird lovers can keep unwanted blackbirds and grackles away from their feeders. The key is to pick the right feeders and seeds and keep the feeding area clean. This way, you can enjoy the birds you want without dealing much with aggressive or other pesky birds.

The research shows why feeding birds the right way is important. It can help avoid spreading diseases. Therefore, it's crucial to follow these tips and create a space where the right birds can thrive. This leads to a vibrant and varied bird community in your own backyard.

It takes time and effort to manage your feeders well. By applying these smart steps, bird fans can listen to the sweet songs of their favorites. They can also make their outdoor spaces a peaceful spot for birds and people. It's all about making the space less attractive to unwelcome birds and more to the ones you enjoy.

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