best feeders to use to keep trash birds away

stevedug(TN)June 23, 2006

does anyone have any suggestions on type of feeders to use which are not friendly to starlings and spatzies and what i've always known as trash birds?

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Spatzies? Trash birds? Can you define these two things as I have never heard of either. My suggestion is to plant for birds and take down the feeders. Artificial feeding encouarges predators and disease. Just one idea.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 9:54PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

From what I understand, any small black bird is collectively called a spatzie. Smaller than a crow or grackle, that is.

I agree with vonyon.....get rid of the feeders and put up bird baths. You'll still get tons of birds, but won't troubled by the flocks of cowbirds, blackbirds, starlings, etc, that raise your blood pressure.

Just make sure that you keep the baths cleaned out and full!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 2:31PM
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Another possibility is to have a feeder with just safflower seeds, because "trash" birds don't seem to like them, yet house finches, cardinals, chickadees and various other "untrashy" birds love it. Also, you can put up another feeder with thistle (niger seed), to attract house finches, chickadees, and goldfinches. The trash birds for sure won't go to that. Why make all the birds go without, besides denying yourself the pleasure they give, just so you can keep the ones that are pests away?

Also, consider putting up a suet feeder, so you can get woodpeckers. You may get a few trash birds there, but not that many, and the various types of woodpeckers you'll attract will be well worth it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 11:12PM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

It's not the feeders, it's what you are feeding. I agree with vonyon, the best bird feeders are the ones you grow, but good quality and carefuly picked seed makes all the difference.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 1:10AM
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I guess by trash birds you mean non-native birds. I agree that if you have to put out artificial feeders, the kinds of seed you feed will discourage non-natives. Suet is iffy this time of year. It is getting too warm. I think it ends up rancid. I have always found that suet attracts starlings (also non-natives)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 10:28PM
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rhizo is correct is what i call a spatzy.

our house is on several acres with a whole lot of native vegetation already pre-existing - hackberries, oaks, ceders, privet, brambles, etc., and some natrual low, wet spots for the birds to splash around in. i've already supplemented what's there with viburnums, hollies, black gums, serviceberries, magnolias, etc. so i think i've got a good start on providing natural feed sources.

i've never had feeders, so i was just wanting to get some ideas on what to put out so that we could get some of the beautiful birds out there in the open for us to watch from inside the house. thanks to everyone for their suggestions. i hate spend money to feed the spatzies.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 5:40PM
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Sounds like you have all the right plantings. Just curious. Is it simply the color of the birds that you don't like? If you feed one you get them all.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 8:08PM
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no, its not the color at all. i love to see and hear the crows that come around. its the volume. where we live, the starlings and such birds come in big flocks. 50-100 or more. they just take over. their noise drowns out all other calls, not to mention the droppings if they roost on the fence around our pool. a sharp clap of the hands usually sends them off, but they come back.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 10:46PM
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nohandle(6a swON)

Just thought I would add my two cents.
When I moved into my house the previous owners left a hopper style feeder on a pole in the backyard. It was one of those squirrel proof varieties with the spring loaded landing bar. I have it at the most sensitive setting and it is now hanging about 5 feet up on the flat side of the fence. I don't get starlings at all. I have seen many a starling in the surrounding trees, but they are too heavy for the feeder, so they don't even bother trying anymore. And I only fill it with black oil sunflower seeds. I do get house sparrows, but I also see cardinals, finches, chickadees, native sparrows etc. The starlings don't even bother with the seeds that end up on the ground either since the doves, house sparrows and blue jays usually get them first.
And as someone else eluded to, the golfinches and the chickadees are all over the upside-down thistle feeder.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 2:40PM
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I have been putting out suet to attract woodpeckers for years. I hang it on a tree branch in the backyard. When I switched to "hot pepper" suet, the squirrels were no longer interested, but all sorts of woodpeckers, from downy to pileated to yellow-bellied sapsuckers came to the feeder. It was great for years -- until this summer, when, out of nowhere, the bluejays discovered our feeder. They now devour the suet so fast, I have to put in another cake nearly every other day, and the woodpeckers barely get a chance. Is there anything i can do?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 4:07PM
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You could get an upside down suet feeder. At my home, the problem with that is only the smaller woodpeckers and chickadees are able to eat at it. The red-bellied and larger ones won't hang upside down. However, it does exclude starlings except for a few industrious ones who manage the occasional nibble by flying up under it. Their efforts don't last too long because they have great difficulty staying inverted.

I used to have sparrows eating at the upside down finch feeders, too. They do it very awkwardly, but they are persistent and somewhat successful. I've since removed those feeders because of undesirable rodents.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Thanks to zebz
I would really hate to lose the larger woodpeckers at my feeder, as we get so many and they're so extraordinary. But the cost of replacing suet cakes almost daily is starting to seem prohibitive. I've let the feeder go empty for a couple of days and am hoping that in the interim, the bluejays will forget about it for a while.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:35PM
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First, let me introduce myself. I have been lurking here for a couple of days and couldn't resist signing up because I am learning a lot from this place and enjoy reading the comments and discussions. I enjoy birds and gardening so this place is wonderful to find.

I am happy to see a thread like this was started. I am having huge problems with the English Sparrows taking over my two feeders and preventing the other birds from enjoying some of my sunflowers. I have a tube feeder and a gazeebo style feeder and I am filling it constantly. The sparrows waste most of the seed in the gazeebo style feeder and I scoop it up and put it in my coconut shell feeder which a squirrel has taken over.

I tried not putting seed in them for a week in hopes the sparrows would find another place to dine, but I always break down when I see a chicadee or a cardinal there trying to get seed when there isn't any. I am going to stop putting seed there again but am getting worried because I want to feed the birds this winter when they need it most, but don't want the sparrows to prevent the other birds from eating. I don't mind the sparrows eating my food, but I don't like how rude they are. :o(,

This evening the sparrows tried to gang up on a cardinal, but the cardinal wouldn't budge and I believe the cardinal hissed at them. :'0. I need to come up with some kind of solution before winter and before I go broke.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 8:11PM
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RB Woodpeckers, RH Woodpeckers, and Flickers all manage to eat fine from my upside down suet feeder.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:21PM
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nohandle(6a swON)

What kind of seed are you feeding?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 1:13PM
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chrsvic(z6 OH)

At the risk of offending some, what i would recommend in a situation you've described, is trapping and eliminating the house sparrows and european starlings. Neither species is native, nor are they protected in any way.

There are various repeating cage traps available, that can work well at catching a large number of these birds. I have no problems with destroying these birds, after seeing first hand what they do to bluebirds and other desirable, native birds.

I like striped sunflower for cardinals, seems like other birds can't deal with the thick hulls as effectively.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 7:34PM
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I am feeding black oil sunflower seeds and nijer. I took the BOSS feeder away for a couple of weeks and the sparrows have since left (as well as my squirrel who wastes it all).

I just bought a satelite feeder that I am going to use to see if that deters the sparrows. I am also going to try and use a coconut feeder for my cardinals because I have a couple who come every evening to dine on my berries and I would love them to have some of their sunflower seeds.

I know that some people trap sparrows but I couldn't just because I wouldn't have the heart. They have gone away for now and I am hoping they stay that way.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 6:08AM
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