MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How do I get rid of mourning doves from my bird feeder?

Date: Wed Aug 9 13:36:23 2000
Posted By: Kurt Wollenberg, Post Doc Genetics, North Carolina State University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 965349111.Zo

There is probably no good way of excluding one particular species from a 
feeder. This is especially true for certain species, such as mourning 
doves, house sparrows, and starlings, that are gregarious, agressive, not 
picky about what they eat, or some combination thereof. After looking at 
several websites containg information about seed preferences about the only 
way to discourage mourning doves via seed preference is by putting out 
striped sunflower and/or peanuts (shelled and in the shell). Mourning doves 
"prefer" every other type of seed that is readily available. 

Another tactic you might try is based on feeding habit rather than food 
preference. Most doves are ground feeders. Perhaps if you put a helping of 
seed on the ground, either in a feeder tray or straight on the ground, this 
might divert the mourning doves from an elevated feeder. However, if the 
flocks are large enough this may just end up attracting more mourning 
doves. Unfortunately, mourning doves are one of the species mentioned in an 
essay in The Birder's Handbook (by Ehrlich, Dobkin, and Wheye) that have 
benefitted from feeders. They make the point that many populations of 
mourning doves have stopped seasonal migration and have begun expanding 
northward due to the availabilty of year-round food supplies at feeders. 

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