“Help, I'm seeing other birds at my hummingbird feeder!” If you've ever said this, you're not alone. Many bird-loving gardeners hang hummingbird feeders in an attempt to attract local species of this delightfully tiny avian. Then they discover other species of birds have invaded the feeders and chased the hummers away. If this conundrum has you positively frustrated, there are some simple solutions you can try.
Why are Other Birds at My Hummingbird Feeder?
Have you ever wondered, “Do other birds use a hummingbird feeder?” The answer is yes. If you're seeing other birds on hummingbird feeders, it's because they are also hungry.
Compared to mammals, most birds have high metabolic rates. This means they must consume more calories per ounce of body weight each day. The sugar-water solution used in hummingbird feeders is a high energy meal.
How Do Other Birds Use a Hummingbird Feeder?
Like hummingbirds, other birds on hummingbird feeders drink the sugar water mixture to obtain the calories they need. Unfortunately, hummingbird feeders are not designed to hold the weight of larger birds. As these other birds make their rounds, they can tip the feeders and spill the nectar. These birds can also damage the feeders as they attempt to access the sugar water.
Additionally, larger species of birds have bigger appetites and can quickly empty the feeders. The intimidating size of these larger species can frighten off the hummers and some types of birds prey upon hummingbirds.
How to Stop Other Birds on Hummingbird Feeders
One of the best methods for stopping other birds on hummingbird feeders is to provide those species with a place of their own to feed. Take note of which types of birds are visiting the hummingbird feeders and peruse the list below to determine what types of food to use. If possible, place these feeders away from the ones for hummingbirds.
- Chickadees – Suet and black oil sunflower seeds
- Goldfinches – Thistle seeds
- Grackles – Sunflower seeds
- House finches – Safflower, black oil sunflower and thistle seeds
- Mockingbirds – Sliced fruit and peanuts
- Orioles – Suet, fruit and peanut butter
- Sparrows – Millet, cracked corn and chopped peanuts
- Thrushes – Suet and soaked raisins
- Titmice – Peanuts, fruit and suet
- Warblers – Suet and mealworms
- Woodpeckers – Suet and black oil sunflower seeds
In lieu of using species-specific feeders, you can also try hanging multiple hummingbird feeders.
Hummingbird Feeders That Keep Other Birds Away
Another method for discouraging unwanted visitors is to make or purchase hummingbird feeders that keep other birds away. Look for hummingbird feeders that don't have perches or remove the perches from the feeders you already own.
To prevent other birds from hanging down over the top of the feeder, use a baffle. These metal or plastic disks slide down the hanger and rest on top of the feeder. Not only do baffles make it harder for other birds to reach the nectar, but they also prohibit direct sunlight from reaching the nectar and spoiling it.
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.
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