How Many Birds for Backyard Bird Feeding?
If too many birds at your feeder becomes a problem, you can control their numbers by
putting out smaller amounts of seed, by using specialty seeds, or by using restrictive
If you fill your feeder only when it's empty, the birds will look for food elsewhere. They'll return as long as you continue to fill it.
You can virtually eliminate visits by birds you'd rather not see by offering seeds they won't eat. Be selective in your choice of seeds.
If you use more than one type of seed, put them in separate feeders. This will reduce wasted seeds, as birds will toss unwanted seeds out of a feeder to get to their favorites.
Birds that visit your feeder have very specific preferences, Most prefer sunflower. Some prefer millet. A few prefer peanuts. None seem to prefer the other grains used in the mixes: corn, milo, red millet, oats, wheat and canary seed.
If you want to feed only cardinals, doves and white-throated sparrows, switch from black oil sunflower to safflower. If you want only finches and an occasional dove and white-throated sparrow, try niger thistle. If you want only jays, titmice and white-throated sparrows, try peanuts.
Another way to discourage unwanted birds is to use specialty feeders that for the most part, allow only "select" birds to feed.
The most non-selective feeders are the tray, platform or house feeders.
You can encourage small birds with feeders that restrict access. Wood feeders with vertical bars and feeders covered with wire mesh frustrate the larger birds.
Tube feeders without trays also restrict access to small birds. Remove the perches, and you've further selected only those birds capable of clinging -- finches, chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers.
Add vertical perches to tube thistle feeders, and you'll limit accessibility primarily to the goldfinches.
If starlings are a problem at your suet feeder, you can discourage them by using a suet feeder with access only at the bottom. Starlings are reluctant to perch upside down. Chickadees and woodpeckers don't find that a problem.
This article was written by the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE