Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Since large birds can be a nuisance to the smaller birds you’re trying to attract, it’s important to keep them away from bird feeders.

Avoiding Harmful Large Birds Only small, compact bird feeders, which larger birds cannot perch to feed from, can be relied upon to protect against bird feeder raids. Squirrel proof bird feeders are preferable since larger birds cannot fly through the spaces between the bars. To satisfy their appetites, you may eventually decide to build a larger bird feeder.

How To Keep Big Birds Away From Feeders-3

You should be aware that it is not always possible to prevent every single nuisance big bird from accessing feeders because even the largest birds can get at bird feeder food.

But you may get started by taking down any and all open platform bird feeders and any mounted bird dishes that larger birds may use for leverage (at the bird feeder pole, in instance, or a neighboring branch, if the feeders are hung in a tree).

Pigeons can be easily discouraged from eating at bird feeders with the same techniques that work well for warding off smaller, more aggressive pest birds like starlings and blackbirds.

By “big birds,” I mean birds like pigeons, doves, crows, jays, and even catbirds; in fact, you wouldn’t even have to worry about hawks staying away from bird feeders because of their ungainliness.

Use tiny bird feeders that are unsuitable for the aforementioned species, yet a low-domed open tray can still be employed.

If you want to prevent larger birds from devouring the bird food, you must use a feeder while providing food for ordinary backyard birds. If providing seed blends for larger birds will divert their attention, we should do so.

You should never give pigeons any food, and if the problem persists, feeding larger birds won’t help either. However, giving pigeons their own ground or an open-to-all feeding area on a platform will deter them from raiding your feeders.

Larger birds can be attracted to your yard simply by throwing bird food on the ground; a bird feeder is not necessary.

To ensure that the bird food is located and consumed before it spoils, it is preferable to throw it under the feeders.

Utilize small bird only feeders

Cutting off huge birds at the point of the feeder is one technique to prevent them from destroying your feeder collection.

To accomplish this, you can use compact bird feeders that are meant to attract and feed small, common backyard birds (with the exception of Finches, Warblers, Sparrows, and Goldfinches).

Birds of different sizes share a common trait: they all consume seeds. This makes it impossible to exclusively provide for one kind of bird.

Or maybe not… if you invest in the best Nyjer seed feeder money can buy, you can attract a large number of Finches to your yard.

Small birds are the only ones who seem to enjoy nyjer seed, often known as thistle seed.

Most thistle seed bird feeders have a tray built into the base, making it simple for larger birds to perch on the feeder.

Long clear tube style seed feeders are another option, although their short perches may scare away larger birds.

Squirrel proof feeders stop large birds

How To Keep Big Birds Away From Feeders-2

The same techniques that work to deter squirrels from your bird feeders may also deter larger birds from swooping in for a snack.

Do you want to discourage larger birds from eating from a suet cake bird feeder that anyone can access? Fortunately, this is not a problem because a suet cake bird feeder can easily be enclosed in a squirrel proof suet bird feeder.

A translucent tube seed feeder, which attracts huge birds, can be placed in the middle of a cage that keeps out rodents.

Most large pest birds can be deterred with a squirrel proof bird feeder, but keep in mind that the feeder still needs to be placed in the cage’s center and well away from the birds’ natural flight path for the food to be accessible.

Smaller birds can just hop in the cage and get to the bird food, while larger birds will at least stick their heads in to see if they can get some.

You could prevent birds that eat the ground from reaching bird food by placing a cage over the ground feeder.

It works well to prevent Blue Jays from swarming the bird food on the lawn, and it also deters Pigeons, Starlings, and even Hawks from swooping down on what is otherwise free food for all ground-dwelling birds.

Don’t ever put up a squirrel safe bird feeder if larger birds can use leverage from an opposing limb or bracket to reach the food.

Erect larger bird feeding area

To save the frustration of trying to find a solution to the inevitable problem of giant birds stealing food from bird feeders meant for smaller birds, let’s just feed the annoyingly large birds.

No, I’m not suggesting you put out food for pigeons, which will only contaminate your yard and your bird feeders.

The best way to ensure that typical backyard birds like Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals have access to food if you’re just planning to put up feeders for larger birds is to provide them with their own dedicated eating space.

Since these ground-feeding birds have difficulty reaching bird feeders hung in a small, compact bird feeder, you’ll need to make this location accessible to everyone if you want to divert them.

When feeding larger birds, it’s advisable to avoid the more limiting hanging style of platform bird feeder and instead set up the feeder on a pole or, even better, a platform on the ground.

Do you want to prevent huge birds from eating at your bird feeders? Perhaps the key to solving the puzzle is providing food for larger birds.

In spite of fewer huge birds being spotted plundering the feeders and not finishing up the bird food in days, large birds will still visit your existing small bird setup.

Scatter bird food under feeders

How To Keep Big Birds Away From Feeders

As would be guessed, larger birds are more likely to eat on the ground rather than at feeders designed for smaller birds.

Therefore, it is recommended to suspend bird feeders from a pole or bracket that prevents access by larger birds. However, as I mentioned before, feeding them is an extra deterrent that must be implemented.

Your bird feeders will most likely be mounted on a bird feeder pole or hanging from a tree limb in your backyard.

That’s fantastic, because it means we don’t have to force larger birds to use clumsy feeders if we sprinkle food under them instead.

Bird seed can be scattered randomly throughout the lawn, but a more effective approach is to place each seed in a specific area.

By this, I mean that sprinkling bird seed under your hanging feeders creates a magnet for the larger birds who tend to steal the seed.

Larger birds can clean up under bird feeders with bird food you consciously added, or indeed the bird food smaller birds dump on the ground out of feeders, saving it from going to waste as it rots.

Instead of trying to discourage huge birds from eating bird food, it may make more sense to provide them with a more cost-effective bird seed mixture.


Keeping bird seed in difficult-to-access feeders is a good strategy to prevent huge birds from ravaging your feeders and eating all your bird food in a matter of days.

Larger birds, such as Jays and certainly Pigeons, won’t have much luck perching, let alone eating, from a small, compact bird feeder.

Some bird feeders are made to attract a wide variety of birds, including larger ones; if you have a suet cake bird feeder, for instance, you’ll need to switch to a squirrel-proof suet feeder to keep the squirrels out.

Because of this, smaller birds can continue to eat while larger birds are prevented from accessing the suet, seeds, or nuts in the feeder’s central platform.

The idea of feeding larger birds to starve out hunger can result in them never needing to use your bird feeders at all, despite the fact that large birds can still be spotted attempting to raid bird feeders despite the deterrents you may have in place.

Even if you wish to prevent predatory or nuisance birds when you feed large birds, the Blue Jays are the ones you want to attract.

However, if you want to discourage larger birds from visiting your feeders, you can do so by scattering bird seed or dried mealworms on the ground some distance away from the feeders themselves.

Better yet, why not sprinkle bird food under the bird feeders so that we can guarantee the food will be found, yet the larger birds or perhaps the exclusive smaller ground feeding bird species can still eat if they are unable to use feeders placed above?

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