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A Dove Problem (1 Viewer)

otto6457

Member
Hello everyone. New member from the High Plains of Texas and I'm new to feeding wild birds.

So about three months ago I was strolling around in the local Home Depot and I found the bird feeder section. Feeders of every shape and color. On a lark I decided I wanted to give this a try and see what kind of birds might come around. I got a couple of feeders, some mixed songbird seed, and some black oil sunflower seeds to fill them with.

I hung them up in my back yard and waited to see what I would get. Turns out, there's not much variety out here. Sparrows and Doves make up 99.5% of the birds in my area. An occasional Mockingbird comes around and I've heard rumors of Woodpeckers being in the area but I've never seen one. The only colorful birds to ever appear are Blue Jays, and they are few and far between. I saw my first Cardinal last week which was pretty neat as I didn't even know we had Cardinals.

Now for the problem. Doves. Oh my goodness they gorge until there is nothing left in the feeders and they bully all the other birds off the feeders and even on the ground under the feeders. They kind of suck. When I first put up my feeders, the Doves would empty the 4lb feeder in 2 hours. I couldn't afford to feed them. I have counted 40 Doves at one time in my yard. The feeders were completely covered in Doves and the ground below was a moving carpet of Doves. They kept every other bird away from the area.

I was going to just take down the feeders and give up. Then I saw some caged feeders on Amazon that keep squirrels away and figured out the big Doves would be held at bay also. I ordered a couple of those and replaced the feeders I had. The Doves were NOT happy when the new caged feeders went up. They tried everything for a few days before they accepted their new fate of picking around for the seeds dropped by the sparrows.

Dove problem now under control...partly. They still fill my birdbath with so much poop I have to drain it, wash it out, and refill it twice a day. It's pretty disgusting. But it stays in the upper 90's to 100's all summer here so the birds need the water. But honestly, I'm starting to see the Doves as flying rats at this point.

So, the small birds have their feeders and I do put out a ground feeder with some cheaper feed for the Doves in the evenings. (I don't hate the fat things after all, I just can't afford for them to eat all they want)

Which in my usual long winded way brings me to my current problem:

I would like to try and feed the Blue Jays and hopefully get a Cardinal or two to stop by for a meal. The Jays have never actually been on a feeder. When they come by, they stay on the ground and try to get in between the multitude of Doves that hang around underneath the caged feeders. It's pretty obvious they do not like being around the Doves and they quickly leave. The Cardinal didn't even attempt to jump into the fray. He sat in the tree and just watched for about 10 minutes before flying away. Honestly, the Blue Jays and Cardinals are the only colorful birds we have around here so I would kind of like to get them to come around more regularly. But I have no idea how to feed slightly larger birds like Jays and Cardinals that can't get into the caged feeders, without having the Doves take over again. I'm afraid anything I do will just feed the Doves and chase the Jays and Cardinals away. Plus the fact that the Jays seem to avoid the feeders and only ground feed makes it even harder to figure out how to feed them without it turning into a Dove feeding frenzy.

I've looked at the pest-off and squirrel buster feeders as a possibility. But I'm afraid the Jays and Cardinals won't use them. I read that Jays like whole peanuts in the shell, but the feeders I've seen for peanuts in the shell would be easy picking for the Doves.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. I am definitely trying the upside down Suet feeder this winter as I've seen a few videos where the Jays can easily use the upside down feeder, but Doves can't. I'm just not sure what else to try. Especially for the shy Cardinals.

Thanks in advance to everyone.
 

MeInDallas

Well-known member
I use the Squirrel Buster feeders in my backyard. The Doves are HUGE problem here in Texas I agree. Theres not much you can do about that.

Blujays love peanuts yes, try getting a shelled peanut feeder, they will find it! I use the Squirrel Buster Peanut Plus feeder and the Blujays dominate that feeder. I get a lot of Woodpeckers on that feeder as well, and surprise surprise, the Cardinals get on there too because they love peanuts. They hang around a lot under the peanut feeder to get the dropped goodies.

The caged feeders are a good idea. You might want to add some suet to your backyard buffet. You will get a lot of Woodpeckers in the Texas area, and they love suet. The peanut butter blends seem to be the most popular.

https://www.amazon.com/Stokes-Select-38069-Squirrel-Capacity/dp/B003NTGXF6/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=stokes+select+squirrel+x&qid=1564920492&s=gateway&sr=8-5

Also, I use a tray feeder on the ground, and fill it with that cheapo bird seed you see labeled in the stores "wild bird feed" and it diverts the Doves to that instead of trying to get on the feeders. They will still try, but the majority of them wont bother.

I understand what youre saying about being frustrated with your situation, it can be when first starting out. You just need to figure out what will work for you in your yard. The Squirrel Buster products can be pricey, but they do work. There are a lot of people on this site that use them and are happy with them. It's the best money I've ever spent and has relieved me of a lot of headaches, and now I can just sit back and enjoy. I have the Squirrel Buster Plus (w/ Cardinal Ring), Squirrel Buster Peanut Plus, and 2 Squirrel Buster Mini's. I have 6 of the caged suet feeders you see in the link. The holes in the cage are bigger than they look. If you have some caged feeders now, then they are about the same size as those. Woodpeckers have long beaks and very long tongues, so they wont have any problems getting that suet out.

Good luck to you!!!! :t:
 

otto6457

Member
Thank you for the reply. I ordered a Squirrel Buster Peanut Plus and a couple of the suet feeders. I'm going to keep trying to attract the Blue Jays and Cardinals. I am going to set these feeders away from the caged seed feeders to hopefully keep the majority of the Doves under those. Plus when I set out the platform feeder for the Bully Doves, I'll keep it on the other side of the yard and as from the peanut and suet feeders as I can.

I really appreciate the help.
 

MeInDallas

Well-known member

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MeInDallas

Well-known member
These are my pride and joy. The Squirrel Buster Plus I got it at Lowes here in Dallas for $89 and the weather dome I had to get it off Ebay, but they have them on Amazon too. I keep trying to get a picture with the birds on there, but you probably know how that goes. The weather dome is good to have because it keeps the larger birds you dont want off the feeder perch. Specifically the Mourning Doves that we have here in Texas. I've seen Cardinals, Blujays, Woodpeckers, all will get on the cardinal ring, so if you ever get one, make sure and pull it out of the box and put it on there. These feeders have really saved me the headaches, but I know how they are very pricey.
 

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otto6457

Member
The weather dome is a great idea. Keeps the Dove from even getting on the feeder perch. I just added that to my list. They may be pricey in the short term, but in the long run the Squirrel Busters will save a ton of money in seed and peanuts.

I did get one of those circular "coil spring" looking peanuts in the shell feeders just to see if the Blue Jays check them out. So far no luck. But the feeder was cheap so I figured it was worth the risk.

Thanks again for all the help!
 

MeInDallas

Well-known member
No problem, always happy to help any bird lover. If you have any questions just ask, lots of smart folks around this site :t:

When you put something new out, it can take them awhile to find it. Dont get discouraged. It took me forever to get my birds to eat suet, until I figured out the "flavor" they liked, now they just plow right thru it. Once they find the peanuts you'll go thru them like crazy.
 

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