Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Most of us would rather see smaller birds swarming our feeders than doves, but there’s no harm in providing a diversion meal for the doves if they insist on hanging around.

Distracting doves from your bird feeders can be done by scattering wild bird seed blends on the ground, away from your feeders. It’s nearly tough to get to, so you can keep hanging your regular small compact bird seed feeders. The open platform feeders, however, need to be disassembled and stored away as quickly as possible.

How To Keep Doves Away From Feeders

Doves get nearly all of their nutrition from seeds, so we may leverage that fact to our advantage by providing an alternative to bird feed that doves won’t eat in the wild.

Since doves consume primarily seeds and some grain in the wild, we shouldn’t put out bird seed specifically for doves.

Avoid using any form of bird feeder that can attract doves. Doves, like pigeons, are clumsy and uncoordinated, therefore they probably won’t use a hung bird feeder.

You can still use the traditional bird seed feeders by hanging them from a pole or a tree branch, but you should avoid open top feeders because they are easily accessed by birds of all sizes and feeding abilities.

Doves should be kept far away from bird feeders, therefore one strategy is to divert their attention elsewhere, which, in effect, amounts to feeding them. Doves can be protected from predators by scattering bird seed across the lawn or on an elevated spot.

It is crucial to stop feeding doves if doing so attracts more doves to your yard, as this is never a good idea as it can just encourage them.

Doves can be catered to with a special ground bird feeder; this feeder should be placed in a well-lit, highly-visible position so that the doves can find it on their frequent foraging excursions to the bird feeders.

Distract Doves on ground

Doves can be deterred from a bird feeder by providing them with alternatives, such as scattering wild bird seed on the ground.

If the feeder food is not put in a location where doves like to browse in the yard, doves are unlikely to visit any feeder. Doves are the only birds that eat on the ground, therefore scattering seeds on the grass can attract them.

When trying to attract little birds, it’s best to feed the doves on the ground and ignore the feeders altogether.

Of course, there’s no assurance that this ruse would work if the dove feeder’s perch placement is generously spacious and easily reached.

Even if you scatter a lot of seeds on the ground for your doves as a distraction for larger birds, there’s no telling if smaller birds won’t swoop in and steal them.

Common Ground Doves will ignore bird feeders if food is tossed elsewhere, therefore Mourning Doves can be fed to them in the same way as pigeons are fed to crows on the ground.

Doves should be fed on the ground rather than in a feeder, therefore a patch of grass or soil can come in handy if the food is hidden from sight.

Feed seed mixes off bird feeders

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Doves spend 99 percent of the year eating just wild bird seeds, so that’s what you can expect to see in your bird feeders.

Common bird seed blends include sunflower and safflower seeds, as well as interior wild bird seed blends that may include grain, a favorite food of doves.

Doves visit bird feeders in search of food, and they particularly like seed mixtures that are nutritionally similar to what they would find in the wild.

With this knowledge in hand, you may actually use bird feeders to provide seed mixtures for doves. Feeders hung in the yard may be abandoned by doves if an alternative source of the food they seek is provided.

Doves, on the other hand, may readily loot open-top platform bird feeders or trays mounted to pole feeders.

To ensure that the wild birds find the bird seed, it should be scattered over the grass in a spot where doves are regularly spotted foraging.

Smaller, more frequent backyard birds can use the feeders as intended, and the seed mixtures won’t be bothered by doves.

Hang smaller bird feeders

How to truly keep doves off bird feeders is to utilize long, small compact seed feeders as you normally would, hung up on a bird feeder pole or tree branch.

Doves are uncoordinated thus are unlikely to land on a small or shortened perch placement that was originally designed to attract smaller House Finches to Sparrows.

Fortunately for you the default positioning of a perch attached to any kind of seed feeder is out of bounds for doves.

Doves prefer open-top platform feeders because they are easy to land on, but the platform must be secured to a pole or else the doves will avoid using it.

Good news, as doves are unable to enter a wobbly bird feeder, hence only a hanging seed feeder of any kind should be used.

Small seed feeders are typically long and made of clear plastic, with anywhere from two to six port wells.

Doves won’t be able to eat from the port wells because the associated perches are barely one to two inches long.

Avoid open to all dishes

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Don’t assume that doves will eat whatever you throw at them, especially if you know that they spend most of the year eating seeds.

If you serve dried mealworms or suet cakes to birds, they will no longer consume the bird food, but that won’t keep the doves away from your feeders.

Doves can be discouraged from stealing food from bird feeders if those feeders are hung in places that are difficult to reach, and uncovered dishes are avoided.

Doves may easily access and consume bird seeds from a flat surface or from a dish or tray attached to a bird feeder pole. Use caution if you insist on keeping any dish or tray out.

Doves can be discouraged in the same manner as pigeons can be, by using a bird feeder designed for smaller garden birds and always keeping the food in a secure, out-of-reach location.

Doves should be discouraged from using open-top platform bird feeders so that their droppings don’t get all over the bird food.


Doves are big and clumsy, so you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping them away from your bird feeder, but it does matter what kind of feeder you use.

Since doves rely mostly on seeds for nutrition, it’s best to keep wild bird seed locked up until we can find a mechanism to prevent access to these pests.

You should not give up feeding doves entirely; indeed, doing so may be the solution to your predicament.

What if, as a diversionary tactic, you scattered a variety of wild bird seeds away from the busy bird feeders and fed them to the doves instead?

In the event that a variety of wild bird seeds is placed in an easily accessible area of the yard, doves are not likely to visit bird feeders.

Doves might be attracted to your yard by scattering seeds there.

These hanging seed bird feeders are too tough for doves to perch on, so keep using the little, compact feeders you already are if you want to keep the seeds safe.

In the meanwhile, take down any ground feeders that the doves can utilize as an alternative to the open-top platform feeders that they prefer to perch on.

Doves should be discouraged from roosting atop the bird feeder pole by placing spikes there; in addition, any trays or dishes attached to the pole should be removed.

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