How to Control Bullies at the Birdfeeder

Bird lovers can be found everywhere, just look around any neighborhood for birdfeeders in the yard. Bird lovers do have trouble, however, with unwanted visiting birds who try their patience by not allowing the desired birds the opportunity to enjoy the feed and seeds put out in the bird feeders. These birds are known as bully birds. The other types of undesirable birds are known as pests. These birds cause health issues, usually by excrementing on everything around them and there are usually large numbers of them.

Bully birds include blue jays, European starlings, blackbirds, pigeons, crows and sometimes male hummingbirds. These birds will not share the birdfeeders and often end up running off other birds. To prevent this type of bullying, the type of feeder used has to be considered. One birdfeeder to consider is one that is built for smaller birds. This feeder has a rubber-coated mesh surrounding the feeder, which allows smaller birds through while preventing the larger birds from entering and eating the food. Another thing to consider would be the location of the feeder. A suet cake feeder should be placed under a domed squirrel baffle or a suet feeder that is designed for the birds to go under the feeder to eat, as starlings do not like going under any type of cover. The type of feed in the feeder can also attract bully birds. Bully birds do not like safflower or thistle seeds, but finches, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals and grosbeaks do.

Starlings are most known for taking over the nests of wood ducks. If you have a wood duck nest box in your yard, keeping starlings out of it is simple, just place a mirror in the back of the box and the starling will not enter the box once it has seen its image.

Male hummingbirds can also be aggressive or considered a bully towards other hummingbirds who try to enjoy the sugar water offered in a feeder. Male hummingbirds only share their feeder with their family, which are their female mate and their offspring. To solve this, set another feeder out of sight of the feeder that this male has claimed.

Pesty birds are pigeons, house sparrows, starlings and even Canadian Geese. These birds cause health problems, such as histoplasmosis, salmonella, ornithosis, pseudotuberculosis, as well as having parasites such as fleas and mites. These birds also aid in the spread of West Nile Virus. Controlling these birds can be done either non-chemically or with chemicals. Non-chemical remedies include proper sanitation and refuse management, which would be keeping food sources cleaned up. Bird proofing areas is also an efficient way to keep these unwanted birds out. This is done by installing covers on roof vents and other places these birds like to venture into. Bird repellent spikes also work as well as frightening devices, such as ultrasonic repellers, simulated owls or even inflatable eyeballs hung in rafters. Chemical repellents and true avicides are also available, but must be handled by specially trained pest control operators.

Controlling unwanted birds can be difficult at first, but once the task is over, the bird watcher can enjoy hours with the desired bird eating at their feeders.

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