How to get rid of Blackbirds (from your garden)

I need to set the scene, smallish garden, obviously well kept and tended with love. Voluptuous beds, hardy perennials that flourish, pretty borders so alive with colour and inviting to the bees.

Pots on the patio, ransacked and surrounded by mud. Onions and garlic in the vegetable patch dug up and destroyed.  The bird feeding station emptied, lopsided and seed strewn all across the lawn.

Silence fills the air, no melodious birdsong fills the air.

Is this the same garden?

It looks like World War 3, though on a very tiny scale you understand, has kicked off!

It doesn’t take long to find the culprits, there eating the discarded seed are Three. Big. Blackbirds.

Blackbirds Love to Dig things up!

These large birds come into your garden and throw their weight around. Devouring the contents of any feeders in minutes, leaving nothing for the smaller birds, frightening them off with their intimidating presence and beady eyed stare.

They use their strong, long beaks to dig through your pots and borders foraging for grubs and worms with total disrespect for the hard work you’ve put in.

Some of this happened to me so I decided to arm myself, with information that is, put on my tin hat and go in to battle with these beasts!

Café Closed!

Apparently, my garden is an all you can eat buffet to blackbirds. Berries on bushes, the moist soil in the well-watered borders and the frequently replenished bird table and feeders means I may as well have a flashing neon light saying Blackbirds Welcome Here!

To begin with I dealt with the bird feeders, I invested in a couple of enclosed tube feeders. They have a clear plastic casing around the tube with a gap just wide enough for the smaller birds to fly in.  The first one I bought wasn’t much use as the food platform was too low down so the blackbird’s long bill could still reach the food. My second attempt foiled him, food higher in the tube.

The same outcome could be achieved by wrapping your feeders in mesh and leaving a small hole I imagine.

Weighted feeders work well too, the sensor detects when a larger bird lands and locks the food door.

Not so big and tough now

Then I hung my suet balls beneath the bird table, blackbirds have a fear of being trapped beneath something, so this was quick and effective and the little birds could still negotiate with ease and outwit their rivals. A small board with a whole drilled in works well on feeders too, the blackbird will not attempt to fly beneath it.

The apple CAN’T fall too far from the tree

A little knowledge goes a long way I found, once I realised that blackbirds are ground feeders I ensured that the apples on my tree were picked before they fell, those that I missed I gathered from the ground quickly. Rotten apple is a gourmet dish to a blackbird it seems!

Blackbirds have food preferences just as we do, sunflower seeds, bread, wheat and corn are his favourites. By limiting these offerings he should start hunting elsewhere, this didn’t work for me, whatever was in the feeders, he ate!

They are also partial to dog food oddly, so if you’re an outdoor feeder, get that dish in as soon as it’s empty.


Veggie patches attract blackbirds, particularly if you grow alliums, onions, garlic, leeks and the like. Mr Blackbird is clever enough to know that the soil will be rife with earthworms around here, breakfast lunch AND dinner for the family. He will use his powerful beak digging for them, disturbing the bulbs and making a general mess.

Prevention is better than cure I find, you will need to cover all of the plants. Cheap, fine plastic mesh is readily available, stake it down at each corner. Fleece is available for the same job too but I find this a little unsightly.

 A friend of mine used a reel of black cotton entwined round and around a few small bamboo canes he’d sunk in the soil, it was almost unnoticeable to the naked eye yet it must have bamboozled the blackbirds as up popped a perfect crop of scallions!

This works well too with pots and planters with regularly watered soil, most of mine are close to the house so rarely do the blackbirds come so near. If yours are more brazen then try tying a few old c.d.’s to a length of string and hanging them above your pots, sparkly tape works too. The reflected light dazzles and scares the birds away.

Keep Britain Tidy

Or at least your little bit of it. Rotting leaf piles are a breeding ground for bugs and so almost definitely a place to find a blackbird rummaging for food.

Sweep  regularly and keep lids on composters and recycling bins.

Prune bushes and shrubs often, those berries attract the blighters like moths to a flame!

Bye Bye Blackbird

This has overall left me in a quandary. Firstly, the blackbird certainly isn’t the worst bird is it? It’s no feral disease ridden pigeon for sure! Nor do I mind that it enjoys eating the slugs, bugs and caterpillars that thrive on decimating my garden, however

I miss the little song birds, fluttering from feeder to table, singing and busying themselves with their babies in the bird box. I enjoy watching them eating the suet balls I lovingly prepare for them, with little fear of intimidation from big brutes.

So that’s my decision made, salting the slugs is a small price to pay for a garden full of birdsong!

7 thoughts on “How to get rid of Blackbirds (from your garden)”

  1. Hi Walter – just to let you know I came across your site while trying to find a solution to having to share my vege garden with blackbirds as it was becoming more than a “share” situation.
    Your site was very helpful but also a pleasure to come across.
    All the best.

  2. the patio and making such a mess I wanted to cry. I swept the soil back into the border every day, but within hours the mess was back. At first I thought it was cats using my garden as a toilet, but then I saw a blackbird in action making this mess. I then pushed some big flowerpots right up against the border, and it solved the problem overnight, maybe because the blackbird didn’t like feeling trapped between the big flowerpots and the fence? However, over the past couple of days I have noticed soil thrown all over my patio pavings again just in one area near the gate where there isn’t a pot blocking the way. A couple of days ago I topped up the soil in the flower border with some home made compost that was full of earthworms, so maybe that is why the blackbird is back. I like earthworms, they are good for my garden, and apart from the horrible mess of soil thrown all across my patio pavings and my plants and bulbs dug up, I don’t want my earthworms to be eaten. I am not sure what I am going to do, as this small area of my flower border is too close to the gate to put a big flowerpot next to it. Maybe I will try your suggestion of using mesh, but not sure where I would get this from.

  3. I should also add that there are a lot of house sparrows in a tree near my window, and I don’t want bigger birds scaring them away. I love the sparrows’ singing. Before reading your article I didn’t realise how much harm blackbirds are to smaller birds. So I need to think of something to stop the blackbirds coming into my little garden at all.

  4. I put a big flowerpot against the part of the flower bed that was affected, and swept up the soil that the blackbird had scattered all over the patio. There is still a small bit of flowerbed near the gate that I can’t put a flowerpot against, so fingers crossed the blackbird doesn’t do it again. And I will look out for some cheap fine plastic mesh, but I have no idea where I would get that from. I felt like crying at the mess of soil all over my swept patio and plants all dug up, but it is also the earthworms and small house sparrows that are at stake here, I would cry even more if the house sparrows were harmed or left my garden.

    • Hi Julie,

      You can get the plastic mesh from most garden centers and also Amazon or Ebay if you can get online to shop. I would say Ebay would be your cheapest bet.

      Take care,

  5. Hi Walter, I came across your website while searching for information about the best bird feeders. I must say I was somewhat surprised to read that people have problems with blackbirds. I guess different gardens have different problems. I love to see blackbirds and I love to hear them sing in the spring right up till the end of July. The only problem bird I have here in north-west Kent/south east London area is parakeets. Aside from the awful noise they make they ravish my bird feeders to the point where the finches, tits and other small birds hardly get a look in. So, I’ve been waging a battle against these colourful marauders for some time now. To date I have found only one cage that works in keeping them away. There’s a company called who sell a rather expensive cage which I was reluctant to buy at first but I ‘bit the bullet’ in the end and bought it, together with yet another bird feeder. So far (it’s only been a week or so), it has worked well but I’m a little concerned that the small birds seem rather nervous of it. I’ve seen the odd goldfinch and great tit feed from it. It would be interesting to know if parakeets visit gardens in your part of the UK?

    • Hi Paul

      I can safely say I have never seen a Parakeet in the wild in the UK! Amazing to think in such a small country we can have so many localised species.

      Take care,


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