Bird food isn't free, and you didn't go to the trouble of hanging up a bird feeder with the hopes of admiring pigeons up close and personal. These pesky birds aren't welcome in your yard – not that they seem to care. There are a few things you can try to prevent pigeons in bird feeders without scaring away the songbirds that you actually want to see.
Keep the Ground Clear
Often, it's not the bird feeder itself that attracts pigeons but the food that falls below it, which pigeons can easily gobble up at their leisure. Depending on the type of feeder you have and the type of food you're using, smaller songbirds may pull out pellets that they don't want and fling them to the ground below in search of seeds they really want. When this happens, the ground below your feeder basically becomes a free snack bar for neighborhood pigeons.
One way to limit how much food ends up below the feeder is to change what you're serving. Cheap bird food often includes lots of filler like milo, which few songbirds actually eat. Switching to a waste-free blend costs more up front but could create less mess around your feeder. The birds that you actually want to attract should eat more of the food and discard less for the pigeons to find.
Choose a Special Feeder
Have you noticed pigeons landing on your feeder itself? If so, it's time for an upgrade. Pigeons can't easily eat from a feeder unless they can perch on a horizontal surface. There are a number of feeders on the market that were specially designed to keep squirrels, pigeons and other pests from latching on.
If you don't find a pigeon-proof hanging feeder, another option is a grackle-proof bird feeder, which should discourage both grackles and pigeons from getting comfortable. Both pigeon-proof hanging feeders and grackle-proof bird feeders still allow songbirds to comfortably feed. Some manufacturers also make pigeon guards that can be attached to existing feeders. Inventive bird enthusiasts may even try adding a few spikes to their feeders, which could keep pigeons away while still allowing songbirds easy access.
Hide the Feeder
Some of the pigeons that visit your bird feeder could be spotting it from above while flying around your neighborhood. That's why some birders opt to hide their feeders from overhead surveillance. Try setting up a beach umbrella over the feeder or moving it so it's positioned under tree branches to see if this strategy does anything to discourage pests from finding the food.
Electronic Repellent to Prevent Pigeons in Bird Feeders
If you've tried changing your setup and nothing works to keep pigeons away from your bird feeders, it might be worth investing in a more dramatic solution. Evaluate the electronic bird-repellent devices available online and at your local home improvement store to see if any of them might be a good fit for your needs.
There are a number of different options, such as devices that emit ultrasonic sound waves. A low-tech, wind-powered spinning device could also work to at least partially prevent pigeons in bird feeders. Of course, a potential downside of using any bird repellent is that it could keep the beautiful songbirds away from your feeder too.