How to Keep Black Birds Away From Bird Feeders

How to Keep Black Birds Away From Bird Feeders
••• Piotr Krzeslak/iStock/GettyImages

Bird lovers can often become discouraged when they realize that their bird feeder is only attracting a hungry slew of blackbirds. Blackbirds are an aggressive type of bird that will indulge themselves on the very bird seed that you have put out to attract a variety of colorful species. But as long as there is a blackbird party going on at your feeder, you haven’t got a shot at seeing any of the smaller varieties of birds such as song birds, cardinals, woodpeckers or chickadees. You will need to change strategy to entice the smaller birds while getting rid of blackbirds at bird feeders.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Smaller birds, such as songbirds and chickadees, love safflower seeds. Cardinals and blue jays love safflowers, too. Blackbirds despise the taste of safflower seeds and will find other places to feed.

Things You'll Need

  • Hacksaw
  • Utility knife
  • Upside down bird feeder
  • Hopper bird feeder with collapsible perches
  • Cage feeders
  • Milo, millet, corn and bird seed free of sunflowers

    Shorten the perches on your bird feeders so the blackbirds can’t stand and eat. You can shorten the perches using a hacksaw or utility knife. If you are using a utility knife, score around the perches and snap the larger section off. If there is not enough standing room for them on the perch, they will move on.

    Hang an upside down bird feeder in your yard to deter the blackbirds. Woodpeckers love to hang upside down to eat and so do goldfinches. However, blackbirds want no part of hanging upside down to eat.

    Buy a hopper-style bird feeder that is designed for smaller birds. Hopper bird feeders have a large area in the center of the feeder that holds the seed. Some hopper bird feeders that are designed for smaller birds have perches that collapse if a larger bird such as a blackbird tries to stand on the perch. You can also look for dove proof bird feeders or devices that are good at keeping pigeons off bird feeders. They may also work on blackbirds.

    Use cage-type feeders for small birds. These feeders are available with holes only big enough for small beaks. You can also make your own cages with chicken wire that will accommodate smaller birds. If the blackbirds can’t fit their beaks through the holes in the cages, they will move on to other food sources.

    Purchase a bird seed that does not contain milo. Milo is a blackbird delicacy and ranks just as high as millet, corn and sunflower seeds on the blackbird flavor scale. A birdseed that is absent of all four of these products will help to keep your bird feeders free of blackbirds.


    • Make sure you clean your bird feeder at least once every two weeks. This can be done using dish soap and water solution or a mild bleach solution. Scrub the bird feeder with the solution and allow it to dry thoroughly before adding fresh bird seed.

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