Take Back Your Feeders: How to Keep Doves Out Of Bird Feeders Practically

Paul West/ Pet And Wildlife Care

Backyard bird feeding provides joy, but mourning doves aggressively taking over feeders can ruin the fun. With some clever deterrents, you can learn how to keep doves out of bird feeders and create a dove-free, bird-friendly environment tailored for desired songbirds. Here are smart strategies to discourage doves while welcoming your favorite little birds.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand dove domination habits like size, aggression, displacing songbirds
  • Invest in specialized feeders that selectively serve smaller birds
  • Strategically place feeders in elevated, isolated areas with barriers
  • Offer seeds like nyjer and safflower that doves dislike
  • Deter doves with sounds, flashing objects, solitary setup
  • Maintain consistency with daily deterrents and observation

Why Doves Dominate Feeders

Before implementing solutions, understand why doves are problematic:

  • Large Size: Their bigger bodies allow doves to bully smaller bird species.
  • Aggressive Behavior: Doves voraciously gorge on seed, chasing away other birds.
  • Displace Songbirds: Doves scare away preferred birds like chickadees, finches and woodpeckers.
  • Take Over Feeders: Flocks congregate and defend feeders as their territory.

Specialized Anti-Dove Feeders

Use feeders designed to selectively serve smaller birds:

  • Weight-Sensitive Perches: Perches close access when heavy doves land.
  • Small Openings: Cages and tubes with entrances only little birds can pass through.

Key Feeder Characteristics

When purchasing specialized feeders, prioritize:

  • Small Size: Tubes under 1-1/8″ diameter and petite hopper feeders.
  • Durable Construction: Resilient metal withstands jostling doves.
  • Easy Cleaning: Quick disassembly of tubes and seed tray.

Strategic Feeder Placement

Where and how feeders are positioned impacts dove access:

  • Elevation: Place feeders on tall, smooth poles doves can’t easily perch on.
  • Isolation: Situate feeders in open areas away from dove ambush points.
  • Barriers: Add cone baffles below feeders to obstruct landing.

Offer Unappealing Seeds

Use seeds doves dislike to make feeders unenticing:

  • Nyjer Thistle
  • Safflower
  • Avoid cheap mixed birdseed blends doves love.

Deterrents to Spook Doves

Employ harassment devices to make doves avoid feeders:

  • Sounds: Motion activated sprinklers, squeakers or noisemakers.
  • Flashing Objects: Suspend pinwheels, pie pans, reflective tape nearby.
  • Exposure: A solo open feeder feels unsafe to flocking doves.

Maintaining a Dove-Free Haven

Exclude doves consistently with these practices:

  • Ongoing Deterrents: Use combination of deterrents daily.
  • Routine Maintenance: Frequently clean and disinfect feeders.
  • Monitor and Adapt: Observe activity and adjust as needed.

Welcoming Desired Songbirds

Accommodate favorite little birds with:

  • Open Access: Feeders sized for small visitors with ample perches.
  • Preferred Foods: Offer nyjer, suet, peanuts that songbirds love.

Achieving Balance at Your Feeders

With smart dove exclusion tactics and songbird appeal, you can enjoy feeders bustling with a diversity of delightful birds again!

Do mourning doves dominate your backyard bird feeders, aggressively displacing the smaller and more desirable songbirds? You’re not alone. With their larger size and pushy behavior, these ubiquitous birds can quickly take over feeders meant for chickadees, finches, titmice and other species.

While excluding doves completely from your yard may not be realistic, implementing dove deterrents can help regain balance. With some clever anti-dove strategies, you can create an environment that welcomes small birds without attracting flocks of marauding doves. This enables you to enjoy the diversity of feathered friends you want to attract.

Here are tips for discouraging doves from your feeders, while still providing an accommodating habitat for songbirds.

Understanding the Dove Domination Dilemma

To solve an issue, it helps to first understand it. Doves are able to monopolize bird feeders for a couple key reasons:

  • Large Size: Doves are substantially bigger than typical feeder birds. Their larger bodies allow them to bully smaller birds and physically command feeder space.
  • Aggressive Behavior: Doves will voraciously gorge on seed, chase off other birds, and refuse to share feeder access. Their pushy behavior inhibits timid species.
  • Displace Songbirds: Given their size and assertiveness, doves often scare away the very birds you want to attract – sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and more.
  • Take Over Feeders: Groups of doves will congregate and defend feeders as their own territory, making it difficult for other birds to use them.

Understanding these dove habits helps inform effective deterrent solutions. You can implement targeted tactics to prevent their aggressive actions.

Clever Anti-Dove Strategies

When it comes to managing dove behavior, knowledge is power. Use it to your advantage with these smart dove deterrents:

Dove-Proof Feeders

Specialized bird feeders can selectively accommodate smaller species while restricting larger, bullying birds like doves:

  • Perches: Try feeders with weight-sensitive perches that close access to the seed when heavier doves land on them.
  • Openings: Feeders with small entrances or cage-like surrounds allow access for little birds but block bulkier doves.

Strategic Feeder Placement

Where and how you situate feeders can make a difference:

  • Elevation: Elevate feeders on taller poles that make it hard for doves to land and reach the feeder openings.
  • Isolation: Place feeders away from trees, fences and other launch points dove prefer to ambush feeders. Open areas protect small birds.
  • Barriers: Use guards and baffles on feeder poles to obstruct doves from landing on or above the feeder. Squirrel baffles work well.

Unappealing Seeds

Doves prefer mixed blends. Offer seeds they dislike instead:

  • Nyjer thistle
  • Safflower seeds
  • Avoid cheap mixed birdseed attractive to doves

Dove Spooking Deterrents

Make feeders uncomfortable spaces for lingering doves:

  • Noise: Install motion-activated sprinklers, squeakers, or other noisemakers doves dislike.
  • Flashing Objects: Suspend pinwheels, pie pans, reflective tape or flashing lights. Movement and glinting spooks doves.
  • Solitary Set Up: Just one feeder in an open area feels exposed and unsafe to flocking doves.

Consistency is Key

Getting doves to learn your yard is not a food source requires commitment on your part. Employing deterrents for days or weeks conveys the message clearly to doves.

Tailoring Your Bird Feeding Station

When tackling a dove issue, don’t just get any old feeder. Optimize your setup with:

  • Smaller Feeders: Restrict access with tube openings 1-1/8 inches or less. Important for size-limiting feeders.
  • Durable Construction: Resilient metal feeders withstand jostling doves better than flimsy plastic.
  • Easy Cleaning: Quick disassembly makes cleaning inevitable seed messes simpler.

Combine your specialized feeder with a tall, smooth pole that won’t allow doves to perch. Add a cone baffle below the feeder to prevent landing. Place in an open area away from protective cover.

Welcoming Songbirds While Deterring Doves

A successful dove deterrent strategy means striking a balance. Follow these tips to exclude doves while welcoming your target songbird species:

  • Open Access for Small Birds: Use feeders with ample landing pads and openings sized for smaller birds. Avoid overcrowding with multiple feeders.
  • Dove-Blocking Feeding Setup: Restrictive feeders on obstructive poles surrounded by open space.
  • Cater to Songbird Preferences: Offer their favorite foods like nyjer, suet, and peanuts. They will come!

Maintaining a Dove-Free, Bird-Friendly Haven

Discouraging doves is an ongoing endeavor requiring consistency and diligence. Make it part of your daily bird feeding routine:

  • Ongoing Dove Deterrents: Continue using your combination of harassment strategies day after day.
  • Routine Maintenance: Frequently clean and disinfect feeders to prevent disease transmission. Maintain deterrent devices.
  • Monitor and Adapt: Observe activity at your feeders and fine-tune your setup as needed. Persistence pays off!

Conclusion: Achieving Balance at Your Feeders

By understanding pesky dove behavior, implementing tailored deterrents, focusing on songbird appeal and maintaining a consistent unwelcoming environment for doves, you can reclaim your bird feeding stations. Learning how to keep doves out of bird feeders will ensure you enjoy a diverse range of delightful small birds once again!

With smart strategies and commitment to exclusion, your yard can become a peaceful dove-free haven that welcomes adorable chickadees, colorful woodpeckers, busy nuthatches, cheerful finches and other treasured feathered friends. Time to relax and enjoy balanced, bait-free birdwatching from your window!

Further Reading

Paul West
Share this Post

About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!