Tag Archives: problem

4 ways to keep rooks, pigeons and sparrowhawks off birdtables

 Here is some good advice on how to keep pigeons and rooks of birdtables.  these methods also work with sparrowhawks and lets the small garden birds feed in peace and safety.

Frank said –

Use  40mm steel mesh.  Any bigger mesh lets the larger birds in.  

Thomas said –

build a cage around the table using green garden mesh wire .  Attach the wire to the roof and put some bamboo stakes to make the wire rigid.  Cut some holes in the wire big enough to let blackbirds and other birds in.

George said –

What I have done is to place the water bowl immediately above the feeder tray so that hopefully they can no longer perch there but there is room for the little birds to feed.


If you would like to read the full notes from Thomas, Frank  and George then read on

Also at the end of this article is a photo of how I tried to keep the big birds off the bird table.  I can see now where I went wrong!


I live in the very center of London and have been having real problems with feral pigeons. I don’t mind them as such (I’m not a pigeon hater) but they eat the whole lot and cause the table to wobble and tilt scaring the other birds away. They leave my hanging feeders alone, but the table has been a problem.

I have now built a cage around the table using green garden mesh wire I bought from B&Q and it totally keeps the pigeons off, but allows all the other birds on. I attached it to the roof and use some bamboo sticks to make it rigid. I then just clipped away a couple of the sections and this allows the blackbirds and on rare occasions thrushes to still get on through these larger gaps, once they learn which route to take. Its fun when I turn it around after cleaning because they then have to go through the process of figuring out a way in again.

The pigeons now only get to eat the scraps that the messy blackbird throws out whilst its sifting through for the raisins.

Incidently about the starlings, don’t be too angry about them, there numbers have declined dramatically over the last few years and nobody really knows why. Plus they are so comical when you actually watch them.

From Frank –

I have the same problem with piegons I put 40mm steel mesh on each side (one side opens for access).
The pesky piegons still come but are not able to get at the food
Note 50mm mesh starlings can get in and are as bad if not worse than piegons 40mm mesh is not freely available I found some after looking for ages at a local iron mongers that sells wire no big DIY chains stock 40mm.any smaller would be difficult for some birds to get in.


From George

I have just joined the throng to attracted garden birds and bought a standing feeder with three hanging feeders a feeding tray and a water bowl. At first I had robins and other small birds. Then along came the pigeons. They couldn’t get to the hanging feeders but perched in the tray and had their fill.
What I have done is to place the water bowl immediately above the feeder tray so that hopefully they can no longer perch there but there is room for the little birds to feed.

Not sure of results yet but so far they have come but flown away again. May help some of you.


Here is a way that I use to keep large birds off birdtables.  Just click the link below and it will take you to another page.

This method lets thrushes and blackbirds get onto the birdtable as well as the smaller birds



Top Veg got in touch in March 2010 and they have a problem with hawks so they have done this – 

Perhaps we should do more to help protect the small birds – so that they have more of a chance to escape the hawk.

They are just a sitting target when the bird table is in open ground. We planted a willow next to the bird table & it has grown so that it covers one side of the table. So the hawk cannot just swoop down to get them. That has made a big difference.  

Because of these  gents contacting me  and because of the other ideas I am going to try again.  I won’t make the same mistake I did in 2008

Wire mesh does not a prison make

Wire mesh does not a prison make

It didn’t work.

An Intelligent Rook

Not a very clear photo, but it shows how big the rook is in relation to the bird feeder and how he could soon eat me out of house and home.

In this photo he is using both of his feet to balance on the hanging feeder


If you look closely at the photo below you will see the rook is only hanging on to the bird food portal with one of his feet.  I was in awe of his balancing ability.  He poked his beak inside, balanced with his wings and hung on with one food.  He must have been desperate for food.


Photo number 3

A Rook finding a new source of food

A Rook finding a new source of food

They are maurading round my bird tables and feeders as well.

Rooks live in close knit communities.  We have had a rookery near us for ages and it is not often they bother us in the garden.  The loud CAW, CAW is something we have got used to and because they live in communities the combined sound can be very loud as they make the noise together.

Also the sight of the whole community rising up out of the trees in a morning is a normal sight to me and one I would miss. 

As always, with nature and wild birds, there isn’t an easy answer.

How to keep Pigeons off a bird table

Yet another  person has had the same problem as I’ve had.  Lynda says

I have lots of pigeons feeding on my table, but no small birds,   the pigeons scare them off,

I want to feed the birds but not attract a gang of pigeons and I have even had a pair of magpies who I think have been looking for water. would a ground feeding cage be better?


There are a few ways to keep large birds off bird food.  One way is not to use a bird table but to use a caged hanging bird feeder.  Below is a photo of my caged peanut feeder when it was brand new.

It has lasted a long time.  It has been great to see a lot of smaller birds feeding safely inside the cage as it hangs in the garden.


Squirrels and large birds were  the reason I bought this caged nut feeder a while ago.    CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS FEEDER

You can also get CAGED SEED FEEDERS


Putting bird food into any hanging feeder seems to keep off larger birds.

Here is a budget SEED FEEDER AND TRAY FOR £12.99 plus postage

I have found the ground feeder useful and it’s been fun watching the birds.  It has lasted me ages.    Mine has a wire seed tray and a green meshed cover, which allows only small birds in.





The problem with the above methods is that THEY KEEP OUT BLACKBIRDS AND THRUSHES.   I was recently told of a  brilliant way to keep  pigeons out but lets  blackbirds and thrushes in – as well as the smaller garden birds.

It’s great!  I’m getting loads of  garden birds on the birdtable now and all the pigeons, rooks and crows have given up. 

Thurshes and blackbirds spend ages on the birdtable since I have started to use this method. 

What you do is – You  put garden canes round the bird table.    This has been the best way for me to keep large birds off bird tables.  As I said blackbirds and thrushes as well as the smaller garden birds can get onto the bird table  when the canes are surrounding it – and believe me I get lots of birds feeding on the bird table now. .  It may look a bit odd but it works

New and unique way to keep pigeons away



To read more click the link




A reader told me  yesterday (13.8.09)  that she  got an old, large, empty hanging basket.  She turned it upside down and has put this on  her open top birdtable.  It has become a barrier to stop the pigeons and rooks  eating the bird food and keeping away the small garden birds.

She said it’s lovely to see the small birds inside it eating merrily and contentedly away.


[ad#125x125square]I’m sorry you’re having trouble with large birds, but glad that I’m not on my own.  I’ve given some ordinary and some unusual suggestions for keeping pigeons off bird tables.  Hope it helps.

I have to wage a bird feeding war  on rooks, crows, pigeons, pheasants and even farm hens that seem to think the food is there just for them to eat in one minute!

Will have a look back at other methods I’ve learnt to keep large birds away.

 I wouldn’t recommend you do what I did last summer.  I spent ages trying to make my bird table safe for smaller birds –

Trying to keep large birds off the bird table

Trying to keep large birds off the bird table

This worked for a few days, but the pigeons and other birds just got through the wire in the end!  It was worth a try.


Hope readers will  send me any photos you have and any notes on how you keep pigeons off bird tables.