Since the start of lockdown in March I have been feeding birds around my first floor flat. At the back kitchen window I have seen blue tits, great tits, sparrows and a pair of goldfinches. I put a tray of food out on one of my front living room windowsills too and, as well as a huge pack of sparrows doing their morning rounds, I have been delighted to have regular visits from a group of 4 magpies, and one crow with distinctive patches of white feathers.
I love the corvids - they’re beautiful and curious and it makes my day to see them pop their heads up to peer in the window, and hear them chatter away to each other. It’s been helping keep me sane while having to spend so much time at home, during lockdown and now that I am mostly working from home. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them.
HOWEVER. For the past couple of weeks, a few feral pigeons have found the food on the front windowsill and they are basically ruining everything. I wouldn’t MIND if they fed a little, but within 5 minutes of the food going out in the morning they have eaten it all. They’re messy, throwing the food around, often coming back and knocking the food and water trays off the sill when they’re empty, leaving droppings (which the corvids have never done); and they’re noisy.
I am starting to dread the distinctive sound of their approaching wings, and this strange high pitched noise one of them makes. I can hear one of them cooing from somewhere now and it’s making me so irrationally cross! My desk is close to the windows so I have been noticing they’re coming by a lot and sometimes just hanging out on the sills and the roof below. I keep chasing them off but they come back again and again.
I am sad to say this but the ferals are a real nuisance, and I’m worried the corvids are going to lose interest if they keep finding there’s no food left for them. The crow seems to come by at a regular time in the afternoon so I can usually top up around then and keep them happy. I’m also concerned that my neighbours might start to get annoyed by the pigeons.
Everything I’ve seen online that deters pigeons seems likely to deter my corvid pals too. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them?? Will they move on elsewhere if I just don’t put anything out for a few days? I even considered designing some sort of feeder that only a brighter bird like a corvid would be able to manage, some sort of push button dispenser system, so I think I’m going slightly mad. Any advice appreciated.
Hello Jaymc, a difficult one to be honest. How lovely that you have found a new hobby whilst being at home. Our featherd friends are a joy to watch. You have now found that the birds will come to your feeders but the pigeons have also found out where thay are! You could try not feeding for a few days, let everyone fend for themselves, they will be perfectly capable of doing this, as that is what they do. Many folks do not feed birds, some only in the breeding season to give an extra hand and some all year round. Start by introducing one feeder at a time, maybe try some kind of feeder that the pigeons can't get too, although I don not know if any exist, as they are very clever birds, having read and seen photos on here. If you wanted you could just have out a peanut and seed feeder for the wee birds and then the bigger ones can forage elsewhere. Yo also do not want to be having too much mess and a fall out with the neighbour's, if there is too much poo!
Edit- I have had a look and Amazon offer a good range (type Pigeon proof feeders). Sorry I can't give you a link, using my iPad which is Apple and certain things Apple will not let you do!! GRrrrr!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654