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It's every bird enthusiast's nightmare: an invasion of voracious pigeons eating all your seed. If you have this problem, here are some easy ways to stop pigeons from taking over your bird feeder.

When people set up bird feeders in their backyards for the first time, they expect to see an array of exciting birds, but sometimes all they get are pigeons. This nightmare is a reality for some people who live in areas populated by voracious pigeons. While pigeons are birds too, they usually fall under the category of “unwanted backyard birds” because they are pesky and invasive. If have the wrong kind of bird frequenting your yard, here are some ways to stop pigeons from taking over your feeder.

unwanted pigeons at a bird feeder

Avoid using ground feeders

If you’ve ever been to a big city, you’ll notice pigeons foraging on the ground for dropped food, so a good tactic to getting your feeders free of pigeons is to get rid of the ground feeder. Ground feeders are better suited and preferred by larger birds like pigeons. Instead, consider targeting smaller songbirds and doing away with ground feeders.

Get a hanging feeder and one with small perches

A good strategy to deterring pigeons is making food difficult to get. As previously stated, when you get rid of ground feeders, replace them with hopper or finch feeders. Sometimes pigeons are still adamant on reaching the food inside, so get a hanging feeder with small perches. This allows smaller birds to feed, but keeps away unwanted big birds like pigeons.

Clean up spilled seed

The places with the most pigeons are usually messy and dirty. The same idea applies to your bird feeder. If it’s unkempt and there’s seed everywhere, expect to see packs of pigeons coming to feed off excess seed that’s fallen on the ground. It’s also important to maintain a clean area around the feeder to minimize the transmission of harmful diseases. By picking up fallen seed, you’ll be promoting a healthy feeder and keeping unwanted visitors at bay.

Let the feeder dry completely before putting it back

For the times when cleaning the fallen seed, getting a hanging feeder and replacing ground feeders doesn’t work, another option is putting up a fake bird of prey. Displaying an owl or hawk made from plastic or cardboard near the feeder will make pigeons think twice about coming near your feeder. The downside to this tactic is sometimes desirable birds are also scared away by the fake birds of prey.

Install an electronic pigeon repellent

This method is a bit more controversial as some people question its effectiveness. Basically, you can purchase a device that emits the sound of distressed birds, which warns pigeons to stay away. According to some of the makers, you don’t have to worry about scaring away smaller birds because the devices are designed specifically to scare pigeons. Unfortunately, not only is there the noise factor to consider, but some people have said it doesn’t work all the time.