Technically, no bird is a bully. For the most part, bigger birds simply hold sway over smaller birds. But some bigger birds, like European Starlings and Common Grackles, tend to travel in large flocks. And when there are a lot of them, they can make life hard on smaller birds. (Not to mention your bird seed budget.) So, here’s what you can do to send bully birds on their way.
These feeders are surrounded by a cage with 2”x2” square spaces between the bars. That means small songbirds will get through the bars to the food no problem. European Starlings and Common Grackles absolutely cannot. (Neither can squirrels and raccoons for that matter.)
Upside Down Suet Feeders
These feeders make suet available from the bottom, not the sides. You see, Woodpeckers can cling upside down all day long. European Starlings and Common Grackles can’t. So, the Woodpeckers can still get to the suet. The bully birds just get sore leg muscles.
These feeders are specially designed with tiny holes on the side that dispense American Goldfinches’ go-to food: BWS Deluxe Finch Mix or nyjer seed. Bully birds will ignore these feeders because the small amount of seed they dispense frankly isn’t worth their while.
Suet is rendered beef fat. But often it’s mixed with seeds, nuts and other treats. When European Starlings attack your suet, it’s because they love the stuff imbedded in it – not the fat itself. Woodpeckers ARE big fans of the fat. It mimics the soft meal they get from eating insects. So, try white suet. It’s pure fat with nothing in it. Chances are this will turn off Starlings while still pulling in Woodpeckers.
Safflower, Peanuts in the Shell, Striped Sunflower
What do all of these have in common? Their shells are all too thick for European Starlings’ long, thin beaks to penetrate. So, remove the other seed from your feeders for two weeks and replace it with safflower, peanuts in the shell or striped sunflower. Once the Starlings figure out that they can’t get to the nut meat inside, they’ll move on. However, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays and other favorite backyard birds will be just fine because their beaks CAN get to the good stuff.