Common Bully Birds of Winter: Top 5 Tips to Stop Them

Winter bird feeding can be both enjoyable and annoying. Enjoyable when all of your favorite feeder birds, like nuthatches, woodpeckers, titmice, and chickadees and wrens arrive, but annoying, even enraging, when birds, usually foul European transplants that don't even belong here (but that's an entirely different story that angers me every time I hear it, so I'll save that for an upcoming article) scare away your favorite feeder birds. Here's what you can do to stop them and a list of the most notorious feeder bullies around.


The most common two winter bird bullies in Ohio are:

  • European Starlings
  • House Sparrows

But in summer the list of Ohio bird bullies grows to include:

  • European Starlings
  • House Sparrows
  • Common Grackles
  • Red-Winged Blackbirds
  • Crows
  • and more...

   Now here is what you can do to stop them.


  1. Let's start off with the drastic. Shoot them! (Be careful, don't shoot protected species. The American Crow, European Starling, and House Sparrows aren't protected, so peck away!) Most bully birds aren't protected by federal law, so you can do away with them. Be sure to move them to prevent diseases to the other birds.
  2. Use only foods these birds won't tolerate, like nuts in the shell and other hard-to-get foods. They are usually freeloaders and only want and easy meal, and if it requires work, likely enough, they'll leave you alone.
  3. Place your suet in hard to reach locations, like under a close roof, because birds like starlings don't like going under things (they are suspicious), and house sparrows don't cling like wrens and woodpeckers, so they have a hard time reaching the suet, and often enough, you'll win the battle.
  4. Usually (except in the case of house sparrows), bully birds are larger than the birds you actually put the seed out for in the first place, so try using a caged feeder so that the large birds won't be able to access the seed. Also, use an 'upside down' feeder that finches quickly learn how to use while other birds don't understand how to hang upside down to get at the seed inside.
  5. Also, provide seed the bully birds don't like. Usually they go for the cheap stuff like millet (a common bird seed 'filler') and bread. Only offer stuff they don't like and see what happens. Try peanuts, gray-stripe sunflower seeds, safflower, suet, raisins, and thistle. Don't use millet!

   I guess that these are the only tips I have to offer. Oh yeah, one more. If nothing else works, scare them away every time they are at the feeders! I had to do this to a flock of twenty starling every day for a week before they left and never came back.

Comment on this article!

No comments found.

New comment