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In some gardens bigger birds like pigeons, magpies, jackdaws and crows can quickly eat all your bird food, before the smaller birds have had a proper chance to feed. By restricting access to your bird feeders or making them awkward for bigger birds, you can help enable the smaller birds to enjoy your bird food. Trying different foods can also see less interest from the bigger birds - check our FAQ section below for specific tips.
Blackbirds are tricky as they’re bigger than many of the smaller birds we love to see in our gardens. Blackbirds are unlikely to feed from hanging feeders, preferring the ground or sometimes bird tables instead. Pigeons also feed on the ground and at tables so the birds can often be in competition for food that you put out.
You can try feeding dried or live mealworms as blackbirds love these. They also like fruit so it may be worth trying our berry nibbles (fruity suet pellets).
There is no easy solution and what works for some gardens doesn’t work for others, but certainly our customers have seen success in feeding blackbirds not pigeons using our adjustable ground feeding sanctuary. You could alternatively try positioning your ground feeder underneath a dense bush, where sparrows and blackbirds are more likely to feed than pigeons. Remember, some birds are quick to find new food sources and get used to new feeders but some birds can take weeks!
Magpies are quite big birds and extremely clever and adaptable. They’re entertaining to watch but if you’re having trouble with them eating all your bird food or damaging bird feeders you can buy solutions from RSPB Shop.
Magpies can be your friend though as they will eat harmful insects and rodents.
Encouraging a diverse range of birds and wildlife in your garden is a brilliant way of supporting nature. There are more than 40 million fewer birds today than there were forty years ago. Each year in January the RSPB runs Big Garden Birdwatch. The results can indicate changes in small bird populations in our gardens. Learn more here.
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