Encouraging Blackbirds


I recently purchased a ground feeder and also some 'robin blend' bird seed and would like some advice if possible.

We get quite a lot of birds in our garden, and I have a bird table and pole feeder in place. I have a particular soft spot for blackbirds and I was hoping to be able to feed them without putting food directly on the ground as they don't venture onto the bird table to feed (we also have little furry mice friends that I don't want to encourage by putting food on the ground).

I have put the ground feeder out in a permanent spot to try and get them used to it, and I put the robin blend out every day plus extra dried mealworms (I leave the feeder out all the time but don't leave food on the feeder overnight due to the furry friends).

The blackbirds are still coming to the garden, but they are wary of the feeder and aren't using it, despite there being food on it. However, a flock of Starlings keep coming are eating all of the mealworms!!!

I was just wondering if there is anything else I can do to encourage the blackbirds to use the feeder? They look at it and appear to look at the food, and bob about around it, but do not jump on to eat the food.

Thank you for any advice you can give me :)

  • Blackbirds are more insectivores than some others. They may not take to seeds when there is natural food around, although I can't say why they aren't taking the dried meal worms. My own experience is that the Blackbirds wait for the sound of the back door to open. I put just a few suet pellets down in a ground feeder (only enough to last a short while, because I don't want to encourage rats (or pigeons) either) and the boldest of the birds are on it before I can get back inside.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Thank you for your response Nigel. I'll maybe try some suet, or something else with insects in :)
  • Thank you for your response Nigel. I'll maybe try some suet, or something else with insects in :)
  • Hello Wizzy, our Blackbirds have always liked the suet pieces in the premium bird seed. They will also take dried fruits, sultanas, raisins or Apple pieces and grapes.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Thank you Catlady. The seed mix I've got for them does have sultanas/raisins in it, but still no joy.
    I might try turning the feeder upside down tomorrow so it's more flat, as it's raised about 10cm from the floor, not sure if this is putting them off?
  • I personally think far too much emphasis is placed on supplementary bird feeding as a way of attracting birds.

    The best way to attract birds, incl those who don't take supplementary food, is 'habitat'. That means for many species a water supply (whether it's a pond, or something simple like a dish of water), a suitable nest site, safe place to retreat to (both of those often mean trees and/or shrubs), no permanent predators (cats), and minimal disturbance.

    If you have all of these, common, easy to keep species like blackbirds will come. In addition, of all garden birds, blackbirds are probably the most capable of fending for itself food wise. Lawns provide plenty of food (so long as the weather isn't dry for long periods), trees & shrubs provide berries, borders etc again provide worms.

  • Thanks Robbo.
    We do have quite a few trees and shrubs that attract birds (hawthorn, holly, firethorn, honeysuckle, ivy) as the owners before us were very keen on attracting birds, plus we have a lawn, borders/soil, and two bird baths. I have never seen any cats in our garden thankfully, however I have seen a sparrow hawk on one occasion. The blackbirds do come to our garden, but maybe they are getting enough food via the natural sources so they don't need to use the feeder?
    I'll keep my eyes peeled either way to see whether they do venture onto the ground feeder.