Help needed! Noisy and boisterous jackdaws and magpies.

Hey everyone,

I made friends with a little robin last September when it started sitting on my window ledge looking for food. I got a small feeder and along with the blue tits, great tits and dunnocks, they were loving it. I decided to get a 4 port feeder to hang on the tree a bit further down in the garden and I started to get goldfinches, greenfinches, siskens and great spotted woodpeckers (wow!) 

There really was no interference from any other big bird, the occasional squirrel but that doesn't really bother me and the pidgeons and collared doves stayed on the ground. 

9 months later and the jackdaws and magpies have started out of nowhere feeding on both feeders. I have managed to sort the little robin one out as I think they got bored trying to balance but randomly they started on the hanging on the other one.

I'm so upset because I have 3 baby woodpeckers and parents using it now. It's been such a wonderful sight but all the birds have been scared off in a matter of days. The jackdaws are up at 4.30am being so loud, disturbing me and there's maybe even 12 sometimes just eating all the food and constantly begging. I understand they need to eat too but they are ground feeders and this just is really causing me quite a lot of upset. I have tried a caged feeder, didn't work. I don't want to get any deterrents because they also scare woodpeckers away so I'm a bit stumped with what to do.

I have just ordered another cage that has a wider middle which surrounds a port feeder (I think) but need to see if the woodpeckers can still access the food as they are so amazing to watch. 

Does anyone have any ideas of why they randomly just started like this and what I could do?

Thank you 


  • We had similar situation, but the squirrels and other birds were not deterred, they came when the Jackdaws were not about. That said had an array of feeders and  we also put extra food put on the ground away from the feeders for the larger birds (Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies and Rooks) and the squirrels, they sat in the trees waiting for the food to be put out and we watched the race for who could get the most first. In all they seemed to sort themselves out.

  • Thank you for replying. That must have been interesting to watch. Love that you have jays, beautiful colours.

    I wondered that about putting some food on the ground for the jackdaws and bigger birds but with how many there are, I'm not sure how much that would work plus the neighbourhood rat is about. 

    Did you use a ground feeder or just put it on the floor?

    It's funny as they have given up trying to get food from the little robin feeder so that's great. 

    The cage I got seems good but the holes are too small for a lot of the finches I think. I have put half of it up as it's like an egg shaped cage so the bottom is uncovered, will see if they continue trying! 

  • We just put food on the ground, mainly nuts. We had four Jays that would sit in a tree waiting, and the squirrels would sit on the fence near the house and race down the fence as we walked down the garden to put the food out. Our hanging feeders were just the usual column type for nuts and hanging trays for seed etc. Was interesting to watch the Jackdaws trying to hang onto the side of the trays (which had a cover to deter squirrels - which did not work). We enjoyed the Jackdaws as every year they nested on the disused chimney and we would wake to the chirping of the babies.

    Rats are a mute point in our house, my partner loves to see it, but I was brought up in the Fens where they were regarded as vermin and I still cannot see them as fondly as my partner.

    Squirrels: when we moved into the house we noticed odd things growing in the lawn, after a year or so we realised they were walnut and Hazel shoots, compliments of squirrels burying said nuts from the trees in neighbouring garden. We also found out Peanuts grow! Well they do when buried by a squirrel, we ended up having to put wire mesh over the surface of all our pot plants to stop the little darlings from digging. We often had a squirrel looking in the patio door with large walnut in its mouth.

    I'll stop digressing from Birds :-)

    Unfortunately we moved from the house with its very long garden to one with a 8mx5m garden :-( Now the only large bird we have seen is occasionally one nervous Magpie.

  • That's really nice to have got to know their movements and things that much. I feel like I don't know as much, maybe as there are so many. 

    I like the jackdaws, it's just so noisy and doesn't seem to be balanced like it was. I don't want them to struggle for food so I might try the food on the ground thing, it's just there are dogs to think about and they will probably try and eat it which is not good.

    There are some robins nesting just over the fence and the little cheeps are so cute. The baby woodpeckers too although I haven't seen all 3 which worries me but maybe the parents have left them to it now. Fascinating birds they are. 

    I don't mind the rats, it just worries me really as it's the food that's encouraged it. The other thing I need to figure out is how to clean bird poo off the patio. A jet wash doesn't seem particularly appealing when it may spray everywhere!