The wrong kind of birds

There is a large rookery at this end of the village.  The noise of them nesting I can (just about) cope with, but they raid the bird feeders.  They cannot perch on the seed feeders, but they try, flap wildly and do their best to break them.  Or at least to tip seed onto the ground.

I daren't put anything out for the ground feeding birds, since a swarm of rooks/crows (a veritable "murder" of the wretched things) will swoop down and take everything.

They deter the smaller birds, and with the yearly growth of the ever-increasing rookery, the numbers of smaller songbirds have diminished.

Any advice?



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,759

    I think one of these would help  Or look at the ones on this site, and as for the ground feeders, scroll down to the bottom of the second link and there are cages to protect ground feeding birds from bigger birds and predators.  Rooks are very intelligent, and once they learn they can't get anything from your garden, they'll move on to another.

    Good luck. image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Shrinking VioletShrinking Violet Posts: 915

    I had thought of these feeder-guards more for squirrel deterrence - but had overlooked the idea that they could also deter the *!^"*: rooks!  Off to GC tomorrow to rook-proof my bird feeders.

    Many thanks for advice.

  • shazza3shazza3 Posts: 106

    hello, surely if they're that much of a menace, you should complain to the local council about them, unless they're a protected species that is.

    anyway, it wouldn't hurt to send an e-mail just to see what response you get.

    i have a similar problem with Jackdaws and Magpies. The man next door lets the Jackdaws nest in his chimney (he hasn't had it blocked like ours) and although we do see smaller birds, they don't come into my garden because of these other terratorial birds, so i cannot leave any feeders out for the ones that need our help.


  • Shrinking VioletShrinking Violet Posts: 915

    Hi Shazza - as it happens, I am a Parish Councillor, and I did raise this as an issue.  Corvids (rooks & crows etc) are partly protected, unless a case can be made to restrain their numbers,  But when a resident tried to do this, there was a huge outcry from all the bunny-huggers, and nothing came of it.

    Personally, I think the numbers are getting out of control.  I wouldn't eliminate them, but I would favour culling them to reduce them;  it would seem that voices like mine are drowned out by others.

    So - I am off to the local shops to look at the cage protection systems, which may have some effect - hopefully before the little birds are intimidated away for ever.

    OH has also resurrected a heron scarer (makes a barking sound when a large object crosses its path) so maybe we'll crack this one!

    Thanks for your input.

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    Hi - I really sympathise with you.  I have a small garden which I have set up for wildlife with several bird feeders dotted around.  Until recently I was successfully attracting a wide variety of tits, finches and other smaller birds and the garden was an absolute pleasure.  Unfortunately, a huge flock of starlings has now found my garden and they have absolutely ruined it.  Whatever food I put out is gone within minutes - what used to last the smaller birds a day, or even a week, lasts less than 30 minutes once the starlings find it.  The starlings bully the smaller birds and prevent them from feeding and the smaller birds no longer visit as frequently.  I have tried 'clinger only' feeders but the starlings just stand on top of them.  My garden is constantly covered in starling faeces now as well.  Apparently starlings are 'endangered' but they certainly aren't around my area!  I am at the point where it feels like my only way forward is to have to stop feeding all of the birds, which is such a shame considering all the time and effort I've put into setting up my wildlife garden image

  • Somehow we, as humans, have to decide whether we control nature - in which case we're doing a poor job of it - or that we're part of it, in which case we have to accept the fluctuations of animal and plant populations. If we put out food for birds, nature cannot know that we have mental lists of acceptable and undesirable birds. You must expect any species that can benefit from your largesse

    Rookeries come and go: one near us is currently very sparsely populated. compared to five years ago, but was similar in about 1990.

    Violet, I don't think it helps the perceived problem by referring to people with a different view from yourself as 'bunnyhuggers', which immediately characterises them as a silly and inferior sub-species.


  • Steff37Steff37 Posts: 28

    I got squirrel cages to keep the larger birds off our feeders, and it helps.  I have crows, magpies, starlings and jackdaws (which nest in my chimney... but I wouldn't say I "let" them) and it keeps all of them out of the feeders.  They take food from the bird table, leaving the little birds in peace.  BTW, my neighbour also has squirrel cages, but the starlings get in to hers, so choose carefully image

  • Shrinking VioletShrinking Violet Posts: 915

    Fair point Joe - but my description was quite mild in comparison with what some of the villagers say in somewhat more earthy language!

    Those most affected by the rookery have tried to have a measure of control - and have failed because of the loud voices of those unaffected.  It is very easy to have a "nature must take its course" opinion when one's life is not personally compromised - but I am irritated by the rooks;  there are many whose life has been made a misery by the rookery, the noise and the mess.  They dread nesting time each spring. 

    I do understand both sides of the argument, but there are many to whom I agree I referred somewhat disparagingly, who fail to see any point other than their own.  That was the point I made.  Clumsily.

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    Joe, your response seems unnecessarily confrontational - I am a fully fledged 'bunny hugger' myself - I volunteer at a local wildlife centre, my garden is a 'nectar bar' for insects, I feed a large array of birds, squirrels and hedgehogs, and I am a member of and regularly donate to various conservation charities including the RSPB.  It is exactly because of this that it is distressing for me to have the invasion of a single voracious species who then decimates the previous natural habitat and displaces all the other wildlife, not to mention making things unpleasant for me too with all the extra noise and mess.  It is the equivalent to having Japanese knot weed invade your garden.  We are just looking for practical advice and some empathy here...

  • Shrinking VioletShrinking Violet Posts: 915

    Lunarz - I, too, try to encourage wildlife into the garden: bug boxes for the winter, nesting boxes (sadly unused this year) for the small birds, ivy retained for insects and small birds (wrens especially like the habitat) and careful selection of plants to provide as much nectar/pollen as possible (single-flowered rather than double-flowered for example). 

    The corvids are very useful - they clear the roads of the inevitable roadkill, and in sensible numbers are simply part of the balanced ecology.  Likewise raptors that prey on small mammals -  even the sparrow-hawk which, I am assured by the RSPB, is a good indicator of plentiful small birds.  Inicidentally, I haven't seen one of those for some time - so fewer small birds have had an effect there, too.

    I don't get great numbers of starlings, though I know they can be bullies at the bird table.  Just a case of balance really.

    btw I have had few rather cross rooks today 'cos they are finding it more difficult to get at the bird feeders.  round 1 to me and the little birds image

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