Dealing with Blackbirds

Are Grackles, Starlings & Red-winged Blackbirds taking over your feeder?

Sometimes you just have too many blackbirds! They can eat more than their share of food and chase other birds away. However, you can be a seasonally savvy hobbyist by anticipating the arrival of your problem birds and implementing the following solutions to keep these birds from monopolizing your feeders.

The Right Food

We offer a variety of foods to help you deal with nuisance birds at your feeders.

  • Ditch the peanuts! Peanuts out of the shell are a favourite amongst blackbirds and they will toss aside anything just to get to the peanuts. Instead, consider offering straight sunflower chips or black oil sunflower seed. This will help to slow down the blackbirds and avoid food waste hitting the ground.
  • Still too many blackbirds? Instead of sunflower seed, offer only safflower seed. Blackbirds and starlings do not seem to like this seed and usually leave it alone. 
  • We are also pleased to offer NutraSaff™ seed! NutraSaff™ has an extremely thin outer hull - 40% thinner than traditional safflower. It also has more oil, higher protein, and higher fat, all of which make it a more fullfilling and nutritious seed for your feathered friends. Studies have shown birds prefer NutraSaff™ 2-1 over traditional safflower.
  • Offer high quality blends in tube feeders and consider removing the feeder's perches/trays, if possible. Small birds can land on the seed ports & easily cling, while larger birds can hang on to the port for only a short time and thus eat less food. 
  • Offer only pure rendered suet cakes, such as our Simply Suet, as European Starlings often ignore them. Starlings are attracted to the other ingredients (like peanuts) in suet-blend cakes more than just plain suet.
  • Don't offer foods containing cracked corn and millet that are favourites of House Sparrows, European Starlings, Rock Pigeons, grackles and blackbirds.

Feeder Solutions

  • Add an On-Guard wire mesh cage to your feeder! Our cages are designed to fit with our Quick-Clean Tube Feeders & Seed Cylinder Feeders - a great solution to keep the larger blackbirds from eating all your bird food but continue to allow the smaller songbirds a way to eat in peace. 
  • Hang your suet upside-down! Our Upside-Down Suet Feeder is a great solution to slow down the blackbirds but continue to offer your loyal woodpeckers their favourite food.
  • Get a Finch Feeder! Our Quick-Clean Finch Feeders have very small feeding ports that larger birds won't be able to access - making it a great solution to offer an exclusive feeder for smaller birds, such as American Golfinch, Chickadees, Nuthatches & even Woodpeckers! Pair your finch feeder with our Finch Blend to attract a greater variety of birds (but not blackbirds!). 
  • Our Eliminator Squirrel Proof Feeder is another great solution to slow down the blackbirds. You can adjust the weight sensitivity so that if a larger birds lands on the cardinal ring the feeder ports will close. You can even remove the cardinal ring & perches to only allow smaller, clinging birds. A fantastic solution feeder against squirrels & larger birds!

A Downy Woodpecker enjoying suet from our WBU Upside Down Suet Feeder