Greedy pigeons

Can anyone give me some advice on how to keep greedy pigeons off my bird feeders?

During the long winter, I was happy to put out food for all the birds, given that the ground was often covered in snow .The pyracantha had all it's berries stripped off by a pair of lovely big song thrushes, shame they went away when they were done.

 Now that the breeding season is in full swing, I'd like to put out live mealworms for the new chicks. The problem is that the dried mealworms (and all the other loose food) gets gobbled up by a pair of very fat pigeons that hog the open-top feeder and eat anything put in there. I have hanging feeders, suet balls and a water tray, but some of the smaller birds like the robin and sparrow don't use them and I fear the pigeons are scaring away all but the blackbirds (who seem to fear nothing).

I've read about perspex domes, would those work? Any other recommendations?

  • Hello  Goldfinch and welcome to this forum!

    I wish I could give you some helpful advice - but I'm afraid that I have a similar problem with Squirrels and so far - nothing that I've tried has helped. I do however, have several fat wood pigeons which seem to delight in all the gourmet treats I provide for the smaller birds! But it seems that when you feed birds - you're feeding everything and you can't be too choosy!

    The pigeons in our garden seem to prefer feeding off the ground  - so I tend to put copious amounts of sunflower seeds under the hanging bird feeders and that allows the smaller birds to access the hanging feeders.

    However, I fear that's not going to be much help to you. Sorry. I will watch the other answers that come to your question as I'm sure that some of the more experienced bird watchers will have a much better answer for you.

    Nice to have you on board ... and just to mention that I love your Goldfinch photo!

    Best wishes

    Diana

  • Hi goldfinch.

    With regards to meal worms a good trick to use is to put them in little hinding places like just underneath a bush or hinding between plants or anywhere like that, they will find them i promise you have proberbly seen tits hanging uipside down off bushes and fences looking for spiders and stuff.

    #as regards to the pigeons you r better of maybe removing your trays and scaring them away for a while, it sounds drastic but pigeons are very persistant, i gave the same advice to another person with a huge pigeon problem. You little birds will do fine with feeders.

    Hope this helped!

  • Hi Goldfinch - you should be able to find your answer in this thread - http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/forums/p/14666/100451.aspx#100451

    Basically, pigeons will take advantage of virtually any food, on any flat surface and the only real way to stop them is either by stopping feeding altogether, or by having a physical barrier that allows smaller birds in, but not the pigeons.

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  • In reply to owain21:

    Thanks to all, I will try some sort of cage around the open feeder, one that the pigeons are too big for, and hiding the food is also a good idea.

    with regards to my photo, I'm afraid I can't take the credit for that one, as the male goldfinch who sits on the fence singing so beautifully, always seems to sense when I've got my camera and gets camera-shy. Maybe when he attracts a mate he won't be so coy!

  • In reply to goldfinch:

    Hi, I have had exactly the same problem,and have been getting rather fed up with the 3 fat pigeons who have discovered the seeds and fat balls,however my solution was to hang them in my dwarf cherry tree on branches inacessable from any other branch.In this way they cannot reach the feeders as they are to heavy to land on the thinner branches,I must admit this took an age to accomplish but eventually we found three suitable branches,now all the little birds are feeding themselves in the knowledge that the pigeons are skulking around on the ground picking off the spilled seeds....

    If only I were a bird! Ah,but eating caterpillars?

  • In reply to sickleclown:

    I've got ground scantuary's that stopped the pidgeons on some of my ground food tables.

    Also I feed a pidgeon and dove mix for them specially and away from my main feeding area.  OK wel not specially but it does seem to distract them from the bird table etc that are not protected. its a lot cheaper than seed mixes and I still feel virtous about feeding the pidgeons as well!!!

    Lyndsey

     I didn't get to be stupid by being blonde, I was stupid enough to pay to be blonde!!!

  • In reply to Lyndseypops:

    Hi Lyndsey,

    But mine all prefer expensive sunflower heart chips and peanut granules, and they sit on my fence mounted trays to eat them. They never use my ground feeder. Sob sob sob.....

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • In reply to Sparrow:

    Arrrrhhhhh BIG hug for sobbing sparrow!!!!

    I will say the pidgeons and the collared doves do have a pretty good line in landing on my pole(?) feeder bowls, I've now got them lined up so only the tits etc can get at them -. I used to have them spread around but the pidgeons just used the the mesh bowl things as steps if they didn't like what was in the one they stood on, they just hopped up a level!!!

    OK OK the starlings manage it too AND I've had to move em closer together to stop the magpies having a go.

    Lyndsey

     I didn't get to be stupid by being blonde, I was stupid enough to pay to be blonde!!!

  • In reply to Lyndseypops:

    Hi Lyndsey,

    Thanks for the big hug !!!

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • I’ve been using a bird feeder that sticks to my second floor window with a suction mechanism. It’s been very handy and surprisingly sturdy! No squirrel can access it, and various small birds (tits, nuthatches and robins) compete over food and are wonderful to observe so close.

    The feeder was pigeon-proof for over a year. Unfortunately by copying the smaller birds and perfecting their landing strategy, pigeons too have now learnt to use the ‘secret’ feeder. I catch them sitting inside the feeder as if they were in a bathtub, gobbling away eating the peanuts and the sunflower kernels I’ve put out. I’ve been scaring them away, but like everyone says, they are rather persistent and just keep coming back!

    So I think I have come up with a solution: I’ve attached two wooden grill sticks to the front of the feeder with duct tape, so only small birds can land on it. It seems to be working well so far. However, I anticipate that cleaning and refilling the feeder will now be more complicated, as I will need to remove and re-attach the sticks every time. But I guess that is the price I have to pay for keeping the greedy gobblers away.

    Good luck everyone!