How To Keep Mourning Doves Away From Bird Feeder

How to Keep Mourning Doves Away from Bird Feeder

How to Keep Mourning Doves Away from Bird Feeder

Mourning doves are beautiful and peaceful birds that many people love to see in their gardens. However, when it comes to bird feeders, these doves can quickly become a problem. They have a tendency to dominate the feeders, monopolizing the food and scaring away other bird species. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can implement to keep mourning doves away while still attracting a variety of other feathered friends.

One way to deter mourning doves from your bird feeder is by adjusting its design. Experts recommend using feeders with small perches or platforms since mourning doves prefer larger perches. By making it difficult for them to land comfortably, you can discourage them from staying too long. Additionally, positioning your feeders near branches or other structures that obstruct the doves’ access can be effective in keeping them away.

Another effective method is to switch to birdseed that is less appealing to mourning doves. These birds primarily feed on seeds, so opting for a mix that contains little to no millet or cracked corn can discourage them from visiting your feeder. Mourning doves are particularly fond of millet, so reducing its presence in your birdseed blend can make a big difference.

While mourning doves are ground-feeding birds, they will also eat from elevated feeders. To prevent them from enjoying the seed in your feeder, adjust the distance between the feeding tray and any perches to make it harder for doves to reach the food. Furthermore, installing cage-like structures around your feeders that allow access only to smaller birds can effectively keep mourning doves at bay.

Mourning doves are known to dislike sudden movements and loud noises. You can take advantage of this by using scare tactics to discourage them from approaching your bird feeders. Hanging wind chimes or strings of shiny objects like aluminum foil near the feeders can create movement and noise, which tend to unsettle doves. However, make sure you do not scare other bird species that you want to attract.

Adding a bird bath or a separate water source away from the feeder can also divert mourning doves’ attention. These birds need water to drink and take pleasure in bathing, so offering them a separate spot to fulfill these needs can reduce their interest in your bird feeder. By providing them with an appealing alternative, you can create harmony between the doves and other birds in your backyard.

While implementing these strategies can effectively discourage mourning doves from your bird feeder, it is essential to remember that these birds play an important role in our ecosystem. They help control insect populations and provide food for predators. Therefore, it is crucial to find a balance that allows other bird species to flourish while also respecting the natural behavior of mourning doves.

The Importance of Mourning Doves and How to Coexist

Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are widespread across North America and are one of the most common native birds in the United States. They are known for their mournful cooing and graceful flight. Mourning doves are primarily ground-feeding birds, often seen foraging for seeds on open ground or under bird feeders. They feed on a variety of seeds, grains, and fruits and can consume up to 20% of their body weight in a day.

Despite their behavior at bird feeders, mourning doves serve a vital role in our ecosystem. They help control the populations of insects and weed seeds, making them beneficial to farmers and gardeners. Their nesting activity also provides shelter and breeding opportunities for other bird species, adding to the overall biodiversity in our surroundings.

While it may be frustrating to see mourning doves dominating your bird feeders, it is crucial to find a balance that respects the needs of all bird species. Opting for specific feeders and birdseed blends that deter doves while still attracting other birds can ensure that all species have access to food. By implementing these strategies, you can create a more diverse and harmonious bird community in your backyard.

Additional Tips for a Bird-Friendly Backyard

Maintaining a bird-friendly backyard goes beyond keeping mourning doves away from your bird feeder. Here are some additional tips to attract and support a diverse range of bird species:

1. Provide Natural Food Sources: Plant native flowers, shrubs, and trees that produce berries, seeds, or nectar, as these can serve as natural food sources for birds.

2. Offer Shelter and Nesting Spots: Install birdhouses, nesting boxes, and dense vegetation to provide birds with safe and comfortable places to rest, breed, and raise their young.

3. Create a Water Source: Install a birdbath or a small pond to offer birds a place to drink, bathe, and cool off. Be sure to clean and change the water regularly.

4. Minimize the Use of Chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides can harm birds directly or indirectly by contaminating their food sources. Opt for natural alternatives and use chemicals sparingly, if at all.

5. Keep Cats Indoors: Domestic cats are a significant threat to bird populations. Keeping them indoors not only protects birds but also ensures the safety of your pets.

Barbara Sizer

Barbara D. Sizer is a passionate avian enthusiast and professional writer who has dedicated her career to exploring and spreading her knowledge about birds. She has been working in the field of ornithology for over 20 years and has written numerous articles, essays, and books about birds. She is an active member of the American Birding Association and has contributed to a number of bird-related publications. Barbara has a deep understanding of avian behavior and ecology, and is passionate about connecting people with nature.

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