Blackbirds & Cowbirds: The Pigs are Back!

by Mary Ellen K. on April 5, 2013

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Red Winged Blackbird This is a post from last Spring, but thought with Spring almost being here it would be great to repost!

I typically love seeing new birds at my feeder. With the change of season, I love seeing the yellow of the Finches change to more bright hues of yellow and the first Robin of the season telling me “spring is near.” But yesterday, my feeders were invaded by those ….. pigs!

Yes, the Red-Winged Blackbirds and the Brown-Headed Cowbirds are back. They raided my feeder and started bullying my backyard’s songbirds. I have this problem every year. And each year I am not sure how to rid my yard of them.

Do I just stop feeding all together? I have tried that and they seem to come back once I put more seed out… even if it has been a month or more since seed was offered.

Do I try different feeders? This has helped in the past. I have taken away my hopper and tube feeders that they can empty in a day and replaced them with squirrel-proof type feeders. I used the type with the cage that encloses a tube feeder. But I bet you could use one of those with a weight activated perch — so the ports close when they go to perch/feed.

This squirrel-proof feeder worked for me

This squirrel-proof feeder worked for me

Finch Tube Feeder is designed to hold thistle

Finch Tube Feeder is designed to hold thistle

I have read about offering only thistle seed and using thistle bird feeders as the Red-Winged Blackbirds and Cowbirds have a harder time filling up on this seed and that they cannot feed out of the finch tube feeders because the ports are too small. I might have to try this too.

Do you have this same problem? What have you tried to do to eliminate these birds from eating all of your seed and chasing away your songbirds? Let me know.

wild bird supplies

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**Originally posted March 16th, 2012**


Mary Ellen and her husband have two children and Jager, a lab/husky mix adopted from a local rescue organization. Mary Ellen did not grow up in a household with any pets, but it took only a few months working at Drs. Foster and Smith to make her realize she had to have one. She is a merchandising manager here and holds a BS in Business Administration and Marketing from Marquette University.

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Blackbirds & Cowbirds: The Pigs are Back! | Lovely Pets
March 20, 2012 at 3:30 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Frawley March 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

# celebrate…..My pets really need some new supplies!

Tracy Brooks March 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

Nice job Dr Foster Smith on your 20,000 likes also great article about Birds

Mike C March 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

#CELEBRATE Haven’t seen any robins yet in Milwaukee, but the other birds that are around were ‘talking’ up a storm yesterday! A sure sign Spring and Summer are on the way!

Congrats on all of the ‘Likes’!

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