Keep Unwanted Visitors Away From Your Feeders

There are some birds you may not want visiting your bird feeders. For example, there are some non-native birds such as starlings that are invasive. And then there are the bullies such as the grackle and the blackbird which frighten off other species and eat all your food. Here’s a few tips on how you can keep these unwanted visitors away and attract only the birds you desire.

How To Keep Unwanted Visitors Away

Try Different Food

Blackbirds, grackles and house sparrows all love foods such as milo, cracked corn and millet. They won’t turn their noses up at black oil sunflower seed (the most popularly used bird feed) either, if that’s all that’s available to them. So don’t offer these foods.

For example, try putting out striped sunflower seed. This has a harder shell than the black oil sunflower seed which makes it more difficult for these birds. More welcome visitors to your feeders such as chickadees and northern cardinals don’t have any problems cracking open these harder shells.

An alternative is safflower which also has a harder shell, and also has the advantage of being distasteful to house sparrows and blackbirds due to its bitterness.

Blackbirds and other bully birds will also usually leave nyjer seed alone too, so this is an option. This is especially the case if you wish to attract finches and other small birds as they love nyjer seed. Make sure you don’t just put it out on a tray though, as it’s likely to get blown away by the wind; use dedicated finch feeders instead.

Use The Right Feeders

Grackles and blackbirds prefer platform feeders and fly through feeders, so you should consider not using these types of feeder if these birds are a problem in your backyard. Cardinals and doves also prefer these types of feeders too though, so be aware that you’ll likely be keeping them away too in that case.

If you’re looking to attract smaller birds, consider the tube feeders with small perches that are too small for the bigger bully birds. Similarly, dome feeders can be purchased that let you adjust them so only smaller birds can access the food.

Also look at using feeders that require specific skills from the birds, such as upside down feeders. Likewise, cage feeders and squirrel proof bird feeders can prevent other pests such as squirrels getting at the food.


These tips will help you keep unwanted visitors, such as invasive non-native species and bully birds, away from your bird feeders. This in turn will benefit more welcome species and help you attract the birds you really want in your backyard.

2 thoughts on “Keep Unwanted Visitors Away From Your Feeders”

  1. Bird netting and smelly sprays can keep them away from your prized plantings, but feeders may offer a different set of problems. Deer become pests often at night, they will graze on dropped seed and become feeder pests when they beat your feeders and knock the feed out.

  2. I am glad that you mentioned the couple of birds such as Grackles and Blackbirds that may be a nuisance to other birds that we would love to see on our backyard. I do recall Cowbirds as another nuisance bird but I am not aware of what seeds we should use for our bird feeders. Do you have an idea?


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