Starlings and grackles are large birds that travel in high numbers and can devour back yard bird food in a hurry. Some people feel they are nuisance birds. They may be disrupting your feeding plans to draw smaller, more colorful songbirds.

One point of view is that these larger birds are still wild birds and there’s nothing wrong with also feeding them. Others feel that these birds are backyard bullies and keep chickadees, finches, titmice and more away from their feeders. If you feel that way, here are five things you can try to keep the bullies away:

  1. Use tube feeders with smaller perches.
  2. Feed Nyjer seed or finch mixes in finch or Nyjer tube feeders. These feeders have very small holes that only small-beaked birds like finches can access. You’ll keep away the nuisance birds and may attract beautiful goldfinches.
  3. Use larger seeds like black stripe sunflower, larger black oil sunflower and safflower seed. A mix like Lyric Cardinal Premium Sunflower and Safflower Wild Bird Mix contains all these seeds.
  4. Do not feed in open areas such as the ground or tray feeders.
  5. Use squirrel-resistant feeders. Some of these feeders are sized and designed to only permit access to small birds. Larger birds may trigger the weight-activated features on some of these feeders.