Home Wild Birds How To Feed Blackbirds but Not Pigeons?

How To Feed Blackbirds but Not Pigeons?

by Dean

How to feed blackbirds but not pigeons? Pigeons are the big bully of the bird kingdom. They are significantly bigger than blackbirds. Which makes it a little difficult to serve the blackbirds without feeding these bullies. Luckily, several pigeon-proof ways are available that you can use to provide food for blackbirds.

Pigeons are an invasive species, which are often unwelcomed to our backyards due to some pretty good reasons. First, they are incredibly problematic. (No exaggeration!). These birds take advantage of their size and crowd out all the blackbirds. Plus, pigeons take over the entire feeding station, and unlike any other bird species, they don’t leave anything for small birds. Not to mention that these bullies don’t come alone. Their groups like to eat as much food as possible without thinking about any other species. And if this isn’t bad enough, they make a huge mess that is highly acidic and can stain anything it touches. Pigeon waste can even carry hosts of diseases and parasites.

Giving blackbirds a chance to feed on your backyard in the presence of pigeons can be really tricky. So, how to feed the blackbirds while keeping the pigeons off? 

Well, Keep on reading to find out!

How to feed blackbirds but not pigeons:

To keep the pigeons off of your blackbird’s feed, first, we need to have a look at both bird’s feeding habits. What and how pigeons and blackbirds eat will help us determine how to keep the uninvited guest at bay.

What do pigeons eat?

Well, even though pigeons eat anything, these bullies belong to granivorous birds. This means they primarily eat seeds, grains, fruits of plants, berries, and droplets. But they can also devour grubs and insects.

What do pigeons eat

Due to their size, pigeons need to eat more than average birds. But another reason why they can eat a lot is the crop they have in their throat. The crop is like a pouch or a doggy bag that helps them eat nonstop. That’s why pigeons continue eating the food even if their stomachs are full. They fill up their crop with extra food and then digest it later.

Their size and crop are why they don’t play nicely with other birds and eat until all the food is gone. So it isn’t unusual for you to see a flock of these birds becoming aggressive while protecting their food from other birds.

Pigeons are uninvited guests, and they like to eat from the ground. They also prefer eating from the bird table. Some pigeons may attack the hanging feeders, but the purpose is just to tip the feeder, so it falls down onto the ground. Where they can eat it without any trouble.

What do blackbirds eat?

Blackbirds belong to the thrush family. These birds are immortalized in our nursery rhymes. They are omnivores, and their diet varies throughout different seasons. Blackbirds can eat both animal matter and green plants.

what do blackbirds eat

The spring and summer diet of blackbirds is mostly about snails, earthworms, spiders, and other insects. But in autumn and winter, worms and insects get infrequent, so the blackbirds have to feed on berries, fruits, and seeds.

Just like pigeons, blackbirds are also ground feeders. However, blackbirds are pretty big birds. They aren’t able to eat from hanging bird feeders. But they are smaller in size than pigeons. Their typical weight is up to 4 ounces, and their wingspan is over a foot in length.

Blackbirds have a softer bill. Their beaks are not made to tackle some tough husked seeds and grains that pigeons like to enjoy. Instead, they ruffle through fallen leaves to look for prey. In addition, blackbirds have really keen eyesight accompanied by a strong hearing ability. Their strong vision helps them spot a worm sticking out of the soil. Likewise, the intense hearing enables a blackbird to hear any underground movement of worms.

Blackbirds and pigeons both have some interesting similarities. However, if we look at the differences in how both birds eat, we can indeed find a way to feed the blackbirds only, rather than the pigeons.

Tips to protect your blackbird’s feed and how to get rid of pigeons? 

  • Prefer fruits over grains

Pigeons are primarily vegetarians. Yet, their favorite feed is grain and seeds. They also favor occasional berries. However, they don’t care for most fruits, while blackbirds really enjoy having some delicious fruits.

You can soak some raisins in warm water and feed them to the blackbirds twice a day. Fruits like apples and pear cores are also a great option. Simply put these fruits on the lawn. The blackbirds will eat it with great delish, but the pigeons won’t be that interested.

You can put fruit on the bird’s table or the ground to feed the blackbirds.

  • Try feeding mealworms.

As we mentioned before, these bullies are vegetarians. So, they don’t like stuffing their stomach and crops with mealworms. While on the other hand, blackbirds enjoy having a nice high protein food. They simply love mealworms as they are the nearest thing to an earthworm.

To protect your bird feed from pigeons, we recommend you try offering some dried mealworms.

  • Offer suet products

Suet is a high-energy bird feed specially formulated for insect-eating birds. This bird feed is high in calories and is a great energy source for many birds. Plus, it is easier to digest.

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Now we are not trying to say that pigeons won’t eat your suet food. But it is not amongst their favorites. So even if there is a choice between high-quality suet products and really cheap bird feed, the pigeons will definitely opt for bird’s food.

Blackbirds simply love the suet products. It helps them during the freezing winter months.

You can grab some suet treats for blackbirds which are basically small and soft pellets of suet containing dried fruits, kibbled peanuts, and mealworms. This feed is perfect for blackbirds, but the addition of mealworms is a turn-off for the pigeons.

  • Get a feed mix suitable for soft bill birds.

You might already know that our standard bird mixes contain many hard seeds and grains. These hard seeds are unsuitable for soft beak birds like robins and blackbirds but are an invitation to the pigeons. To feed the soft-billed birds, you may need to invest in some soft-bill feed mixes.

feed mix suitable for soft bill birds

These mixes contain soft grains like mealworms, sunflower hearts, oats, dry fruits, and suet pellets. Now it is not like pigeons will not try to eat this food. They might enjoy some of the grains, but most of the food will be left untouched. This way, blackbirds, robins, and other smaller birds can enjoy some food with peace.

  • Get an enclosed bird table.

Blackbirds are ground feeders so are the pigeons. Both these bird species like to feed on a relatively flat surface. They enjoy eating off the feeding table and the floor while ignoring any hanging feeders. Our standard bird tables with open sides are perfect for both species.

But pigeons don’t like to share their food with anyone. So if you want to keep the pigeons out and feed blackbirds only, try using a feeding table that offers limited access to feeding platforms. Such tables are designed to let small birds in while keeping the big garden bullies out.

  • Try a ground feeder guardian.

Ground feeder guardians are precisely what their name sounds like. They are similar to an upturned hanging basket that sits perfectly over a ground feeder. Some guardians even come with their own feeding bowl right in the middle.

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Feeder guardians are an excellent solution for garden bullies. They offer small birds easy access to food while keeping the big ones out. But before grabbing any feeder guardian for your lawn, make sure you have checked the sizes carefully.

While making any purchase, keep in mind that blackbirds are smaller than pigeons, but they are pretty big. So if the gap between the bars of the feeder garden is too tight, it will prevent both pigeons and blackbirds from accessing the food. 

Make sure the whole thing isn’t too small. If it is smaller, the birds might not be able to enter the guardian, but they can still eat the feed by getting their heads and necks in.

  • Use pigeon-proof fence.

You can try surrounding your bird’s table with pigeon proof fence. Simply place this fence at intervals and keep it wide enough to allow small birds in. Here, you might need to pay some attention to get the correct spacing so that the blackbirds can easily get in, and the pigeons may stay out.

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This method is widely recommended by bird lovers as it has proved to be a success against pigeons. So it’s a method worth trying.

  • Use pigeon wire

Well, this is kind of a DIY solution. This method works by surrounding your bird feeder with a circle of pigeon wire. It is incredibly effective because blackbirds happily hop through the holes to access the feed while pigeons hesitate to do so.

Again, you may need to play around a bit to get the right size of wire circle. Ensure the circle is not that wide and the pigeons can’t reach the food through the wire. Keeping the circle smaller will also prevent any direct pigeon landings in the circle.

  • Camouflage feeding

Remember when we said blackbirds love to find their prey through fallen leaves and soil? Yes, this ability can also help you in your struggle of chasing pigeons away.

Blackbirds are capable of finding hidden food. While pigeons are not great hedgehog foragers. They like to eat out in the open. So, throwing food under your hedges is a great way to protect it from greedy pigeons.

  • If you can’t battle with them, befriend them!

This statement might make you frown at us, but you know, these annoying birds are hungry too. It isn’t their fault that they are big enough to scare small birds. Neither can they stop eating a lot. Simply, they can’t help being the way nature made them!

The strategies mentioned above and solutions have worked great for a lot of bird lovers. But if you aren’t fortunate enough to win the battle against pigeons, why not simply feed them? These big birds are not very picky and will be happy with the cheapest feed mix. So just throw some feed anywhere on the ground away from the bird feeder, and all the birds, whether big or small, will be comfortable.

Feeding blackbirds and pigeons

Both pigeons and blackbirds are ground feeders. Their body weight is more than the weight of average birds, making it difficult for them to hang upside down to a standard bird feeder. Both species will be glad to eat from flat surfaces. But unfortunately, pigeons can eat and store a lot of food super quickly. Therefore, when pigeons are around, it is clear to see that the blackbirds are missing out.

feeding blackbirds and pigeons

However, there are many bird food options available in the market that you can use to feed the blackbirds. You can opt for a food option that doesn’t attract pigeons. Plus, there are so many defense mechanisms that you can use around your bird feeders to oust the pigeons away. While small birds can still enjoy a healthy snack from your backyard.

The truth is, it isn’t that challenging to feed the blackbirds without having to provide the bully pigeons.

But once your singing blackbird friends are full, have a soft corner for the poor old pigeons. These fellas need to eat too. Nature made them this way, and they are a beautiful part of it. So try to befriend them, and they will be happy to have the cheapest bird food you can offer.

Thanks for being with us today. We hope this article has been helpful and by following these strategies you will be able to deter the issue. If you would like to share another solution or have a question or suggestion, leave a comment for us below. We would love to hear from you!

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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