I get a lot of people asking how they can keep pigeons off bird tables. 

Shown for the first time on Bird Table News – a  new method of keeping pigeons (and other large birds ) off bird tables –  which really does work

This is not an expensive high tech invention but it really does work.

The reason I’m really pleased with it is because for the first time in ages I have had a number of thrushes, blackbirds, chaffinches, sparrows casually visiting this birdtable – safe in the knowledge

  1. A predator cannot get at them
  2. Pigeons cannot fly onto the bird table
  3. Rooks, crows cannot get onto the bird table
  4. There is a supply of birdfood throughout the day on this birdtable that will not be eaten by larger birds

This must be good as this is a busy time of year for birds.

As usual with most things I do  – the first thing I needed was some string

The second thing I needed was garden canes which can be bought at garden centres

Garden canes keep pigeons off bird table

Garden canes keep pigeons, predators and other larger birds off bird table

New and unique way to keep pigeons away

New and unique way to keep pigeons away

 Alright.  Alright.  I know it’s a bit Heath Robinson, but  it works.

It does not look pretty and  some would say it looks a bit silly.  I am going to do it better in the next week or two – but it does work.

 The large birds cannot balance themselves to get through the canes.

  I think I should have put the canes further away from the bird table and secured them further into the ground, but then the wind would blow them over.

If  anyone has any advice on how to improve on using this cane method I’d be grateful. 

Also if you try this please method could you send me some pictures or leave a comment and let me know.

[ad#125x125square]I haven’t been able to get any photos of birds on the birdtable yet , but it is so lovely to get the thrushes, blackbirds, sparrows, chaffinches plus more back onto the birdtable.  It’s great to see them take their time at the bird food I put out and not be shoved off by pigeons.

Here are two birds I’ve seen at the bird table recently.

I love grated cheese from the birdtable

I love grated cheese from the birdtable





I have been trying different things for ages.  I have tried wire round a bird table but the pigeons could balance on the mesh of the wire and hop inside the wire to get at the bird food

I like feeding blackbirds and thrushes.  Here is another way I tried

Pigeons can be very clever

Pigeons can be very clever

I left the cage door open so that thrushes and blackbirds could get in.  I did not expect a pigeon to poke it’s beak and then push itself inside this feeder.


In the past I have had help and advice from readers who have  solved this problem in different ways .  I will repeat their suggestions soon.

I was lucky enough to get some advice on my new YORKSHIRE BIRD FORUM . 

This advice on how canes can help keep pigeons away was from FARMING FRIENDS and TOPVEG   

The plus side to this very basic method is it also keeps rooks and crows off the birdtable. 

There must be thousands of people like me who have problems with pigeons and other larger birds eating all the bird food – could this be the answer.

Make a comment now and let me know what you think.  Good or Bad – I don’t mind.  I’m just interested in if you think it’s a good idea and are likely to try it.

Trisha from Bird Table News


  1. Shiv

    I would first of all like to thank Trish for her inspiration. I cannot stand grey pigeons, as they finish enough food to feed 4 or 5 of the smaller birds in my garden. So through searching for advice on how to keep pigeons away from the bird table I stumbled upon Trish’s idea of placing canes around the table. I thought I might take this a step further and incorporate the canes into the table itself creating a more aesthetically pleasing table. I ended up purchasing a table from H*meb*s* along with a strip of floor edging to act as my canes.
    Instead of boring you with the details of how I made the table pigeon proof, I thought I might post pictures up instead (as soon as I know how) which are self-explanatory.
    The pigeons have tried to enter the ‘house’ but being too big they couldn’t balance on any part of the table apart from the roof. All other birds however have been enjoying the treats I have put out for them which in previous days would have been finished by the pigeons before the smaller birds even got a taste. This has all been happening while the pigeons sit on the fence and wonder how they are going to enter, but all their attempts have failed!
    Thanks Trish!
    (Pics up soon!)

  2. Trish Post author

    Hi Shiv, Thanks for saying I’m an inspiration. I’ve never been called that before!

    What a brilliant idea of yours to put the canes round the bird table itself. I would never have thought of that in a million years.
    Can I ask where you live? Is it in England?

    It’s brilliant that the internet can spread practical ideas like this.

    I, like you, have been so fed up watching pigeons and rooks get bird food that I put out for smaller garden birds.

    I was amused when I saw pigeons sitting on the fence trying to sort out a way to get at the food. They didn’t manage it.

  3. sherrylee

    i have this problem too but i find if i put out a lot of bread on the garden they tend to eat this instead of the seed.i also put corn out for the pigeons.i know they can be a problem but i still would not like to see them go hungry all creatures great and small still count.

  4. Trish Post author

    I seem to remember someone else told me they did this. They put bird seed in one area of the garden and bread and other things in another area and the large birds took the ‘breaded’ area.

    I have two birdtables, and I put seed on both. Maybe another idea would be if I put bread on one and seed on the other.

    I like putting birdfood on the ground and on a ground feeder. Problem is I am now getting crows and rooks eating this food – but don’t really want to stop putting bird food out

    Thanks for getting in touch

    I have also put your idea my forum which I’m getting back to after not being able to do anything much with it.

    This is the link if you’d like to take a look. I’m trying to keep all the ideas in one place and this seemed a good idea.


  5. George

    While the pigeon is sitting in that cage; a .177 air rifle will make sure it never leaves therefore never comes back again. You can buy pellets for £5 for 500. You can get rid of a lot of pigeons for a fiver. GC

  6. Marion

    I put out a tray of bird food on my garden table. Over this tray, I place an up-turned, empty hanging basket . The smaller birds can get in to feed but the pigeons can’t. Works a treat!

  7. Theresa Tanner

    I like the upturned hanging basket idea and will be trying this immediately. Can anyone tell me how to deter Starlings. We are inundated with them. They take all the food and even get in through the wire on the chicken run and take the chicken food as well. This raises the issue of Avian Flu. Are Starlings likely to carry that? We are in the process of re-wiring the run with a much finer wire, but that only solves the one problem. Any idea? Shooting pigeons is fine, but not Starlings.

  8. Gina

    I have just been reading above comments and have to say the upturned basket will not work because it’s too small and the pigeons will poke their heads through (the gaps are quite big) and eat what they can (I know this because we have a cage over the feeder on the ground and they do exactly that). We also have put the hanging feeders in cages which works (pigeons can’t poke their heads through and they can’t really hold onto them properly) but the problem is the stuff that falls onto the ground. The only solution would be to put everything into a big cage but that would not look nice. We have now run out of places for the feeders to move to (we have to move them because the pigeons trample over all our plants and ruin everything and they also make a huge mess). It is a real shame because this is the first year we have managed to attract birds. So whereas above solution might work, it doesn’t look too nice so I can’t wait for Shiv’s photo to see how that works. Also although they say you shouldn’t stop feeding the birds in the summer, someone in the know said that wouldn’t be a problem, the little birds would find the food again in winter. So that might keep the pigeons away for a while.

  9. Trish Post author

    It’s really interesting to see how people care for the songbird population. Nearly every week I get readers telling me what extent they go to so they can feed small garden birds safely.

    This must help the songbird population.

    I think the idea of not feeding in summer is an interesting one. The advice used to be not to feed in summer. I really enjoyed the break from putting bird food out. THEN the advised changed to feed all the time. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know. I just know that at evening time I get a lot of garden birds at the feeders. The rooks, crows and pigeons don’t seem to come then so I often put bird food out. Thank again

  10. ann elliott

    I hung my feeder inside 2 large hanging baskets held together with a wire to form a globe the peigeons become unstable and cant feed but small birds can get through

  11. Trish Post author

    Thank you for that idea. It’s brilliant.
    I’ve put it as a short note on Bird Table News.

  12. Sandy

    Like you I am inundated with pigeons and magpies which are eating all the food and keeping the smaller birds away. I put sultanas and raisins out for the blackbirds and I have a table and a feeding station. The magpies have eaten all the fatballs and coconut suets and the pigeons have eaten everything else. They can’t get to the food on the bird station but they stand underneath waiting for seed to drop from the feeders when the sparrows, dunnocks and bluetits come. How can I stop them on the bird station please

  13. Trish Post author

    I’ve had the same problem as you. One of the answers is to put the food in caged feeders. Hanging caged feeders or a ground feeder. with a ground feeder the mesh is small so only small birds can get into the feeder. The problem is that blackbirds can’t get in. To help the blackbirds and thrushes I’ve put some garden canes in a small circle and then put some large sized wire mesh around as well. The larger birds can’t get in but the smaller ones and the blackbirds and thrushes love it. Photo to follow

  14. Sandy

    Thanks Trish, I’ll give it a try. I’ve put a hanging basket upturned on the ground and the blackbirds have been able to get through but the pigeons are clever and will keep nibbling away at the outskirts of food! I put two hanging baskets together around a suet block and couldn’t believe it one morning when a squirrel was inside it! It’s lovely to see the bluetits, long tailed tits, chaffinches and goldfinches in the garden. I’ll try your cane idea, thank you so much.

  15. Sandy

    I think this week I may have sorted out the pigeon problem by putting sultanas/raisins in a small glass on the lawn with a hanging basket over it. The pigeons are very clever and keep walking around it pushing their heads through the cage but they can’t reach inside the glass and it’s driving them crazy! I have to wait now for the blackbird to come and see what he does…….

  16. Sandy

    Hi Trish,
    It works! I put the glass containing the sultanas/raisins on the lawn covered with an upside down hanging basket. The pigeons were very clever and managed to knock over the glass to get to the food, so I’ve secured the glass with tent pegs! The pigeons poked their heads through but could not get to the food and have now given up. I’ve tried to get a photo of them trying in vain but they kept flying off, I have however got a lovely photo of the blackbird inside it, and also a very clever squirrel on a “squirrel proof feeder”! Kind regards, Sandy

  17. Trish Post author

    Hi Sandy,

    I’ve sent you an email with my email address on – look forwad to receiving the photos

    I’ve heard that blackbirds love porridge oats, but I’ve also heard that if they eat warm porridge oats and the porridge dries on their beaks, then they cannot open their beaks!!

  18. Sandy

    Thanks Trish, photos on the way.

    I give them cheap uncooked porridge oats (Asda price!!) which the blackbirds seem to love, as do some of the smaller birds, the chaffinch and robin especially. Yesterday I also saw dunnocks, bluetits, a wren, coaltits and great tits in the garden, it was brilliant.

    I’ve just seen a blackbird go inside the basket for some sultanas and a pigeon walking around the outside, sticking his head through but not getting anything! Lovely! Shame the camera wasn’t handy…

  19. Trish Post author

    I’ve just managed to put another of your photos on Bird Table News. Hope your idea helps other people to feed garden birds safely

    Your other photos will be on next week sometime


  20. Linda

    I have also tried upside down hanging baskets but the pigeons peck round in a circle and can nearly eat all the seed. I have now resorted to bricks round the edge of my pagoda style bird table and only blackbirds and the smaller varieties can get to the food, ie dried mealworms,sultanas and seed. Like the cane idea very much

  21. Valentyna

    We have tried all sorts of things to deter these pesky crows which have raided our bird table. They perch on lamp posts or on the roof of flats across from our home. I did have many beautiful wild birds visiting us, including doves and ring neck doves. The crows would just swoop, frighten the wild birds and demolish the food on the table. I have tried the canes but it seems the doves, etc are now afraid.

    Apart from shooting the crows I am at a loss.

    Please help!

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