Bird Barn logo
Blue Tit perched on hanging bird table

Bird Tables for Small Birds Only

If you want to attract small birds only to fit under your covered wooden bird table you'll need a smaller table to allow space for small garden birds to feed only.

Wild birds are intuitive, so the chances of deterring big birds from your garden bird table is quite slim. But you can reduce the number of larger birds feeding off your table by siting a bird table for small birds only. With your current bird table setup, fortify it by inserting in squirrel proof bird feeder.

Bird tables for small birds are designed to attract smaller species of wild birds but with all the benefits of larger wooden bird tables, but in a much smaller scale.

To start with, the underpass should have a low hanging eave with pillars or objects in the way to stop big birds flapping about, or ever given the chance to land or perch.

But to deter larger birds like Blackbirds and Starlings, a wider roof overhang designed to cover the feeding platform beneath it would be a start.

It would make it hard to land with little room to move on the feeding area, but they sure will try regardless.

There's no need to do away with large bird tables at all, all you need to do is fortify it to make it large bird proof.

Well this will involve inserting in a squirrel proof bird feeder; a number of feeders can be stood up, well others will need to be sat on there side.

If short and plump, it may also be possible to hang a small squirrel proof peanut feeder from beneath, inside the table where only small birds can feed.

In turn this should keep pigeons from feeding well making it Jackdaw proof or safe from similar larger garden birds who eat off a bird table or hanging feeders.

Smallest bird table possible

Pigeon proof bird table setup on lawn

PICTURED - Selections: Pigeon Proof Bird Table with Ground Spikes. On for sale as the only true bird table for small birds only.

When going for a wooden bird table for small birds, its imperative that the bird table platform is small as it could possibly be.

Bird tables available in mass, as well has those handcrafted ones from garden centres are all generally made with a large top.

That's the part the birds feed on with a flat platform with a roof to keep the rain off; with additional pillars and posts which is how its constructed.

Its these largely big wooden bird table available that don't take into consideration nuisance garden birds.

To be honest we all want to keep pigeons off our bird tables, including Starling, Jackdaws and Blackbirds, so producers should do more to make it easy on us.

Small bird tables have a smaller than usual table to, for use with smaller birds is perfectly compatible still with little restrictions on feeding.

You'll need to make sure it sits on a solid wooden stand, well the support legs on the base is wide enough to not fall over in high wind.

It may also be possible for a larger number of big birds to topple a bird table if its not secured, so do the decent thing and anchor the bird table into the ground with pegs.

Low eave, wide roof overhang

Trixie bird table with overhanging roof

PICTURED - Trixie: Natura Bird Table on Stand. Overhang on sides is what you're looking for, though the front and rear openings are far to big.

If we go for a traditional wooden bird table with a large table top, make it so the space between the platform and the rim of the roof is fairly low.

It would make it a little more difficult for you to view small birds feeding from under the table but it might go towards deterring larger birds.

Not a sound solution, in fact large birds would probably make it onto the platform of all standard bird tables, so we can only hope that work's as it is.

But we can do another thing that might help keep them off...

Select a bird table with a wide overhanging roof. Roofs that are level with the platform below will make it incredibly easy for large birds to land to feed.

Overhanging roof sections will make it more difficult for large birds to duck and dive under, even more so to perch if there head it knocking on the roof panel.

Insert squirrel proof bird feeder into table

Wooden bird table with high eaves

PICTURED - Natures Market: Wooden Bird Table with Slate Effect Roof designed with large platform, high eaves - will allow for a squirrel proof bird feeder to be inserted within.

It may be possible to go with any traditional to the more fancier wooden bird table setup that takes your fancy, thanks to squirrel proof bird feeders.

We're not talking about squirrel proof bird tables as that would solve all issues, but as it stands they don't exists.

What we are talking about are the usual hanging squirrel proof bird feeders you can buy that hang up on the bird feeding station, wall bracket or tree branch.

Well squirrel proof, its also large bird proof which can only mean small birds can feed from it only.

Coated metal wiring is formed into a cage with the normal bird feeder at the centre; the bars are spaced to only allow small bird to enter through the bars to feed.

This won't stop the larger Jackdaw's, pigeons and crows from landing on the table, but it will stop them feeding, unless of course they gobble up the messy leftovers.

To make your bird table for small bird birds only, insert a squirrel proof bird feeder on its side across the centre of the covered platform under the roof.

Bird tables are designed in various ways, so it might be possible to stand a squirrel proof bird feeder upright, or in deed hang it up from under the table.

Customise it yourself

Riverside Woodcraft table that could be customised

PICTURED - Riverside Woodcraft: Hanging Bird Table. It might be possible to block off all entrances with glued on dowels to only allow small birds passage.

If you fancy doing a little DIY, it may be possible to use any bird table that you like, but make the necessary alterations yourself.

If you take a large bird table with slate roof (like the one pictured) that is not large bird proof; it will only take gluing multiple wooden dowels around the entrances to only allow small birds to pass.

No need to sacrifice a beautiful table, it just needs a few adjustments.

No nails or screws with this project, make sure the bird table that needs customising has little areas to enter, as it would be impossible to cover up a complete fly-through bird table designs.

Its imperative you know you can glue the dowels in such as way as to not obstruct the feed all together.

It might not be a simple case of covering up the entrances with dowels carefully spaced between 25mm to 28mm, as wood glue doesn't take to painted surfaces.

This would require you to sand back all paint work or stain, and well you won't get it all, it will create a surface more suitable to take glue.

If going for this solution, make it so you have access to clean up and remove access feed left behind - a hinged door might be doable if you have the skills.

Small birds attracted to bird tables

All small garden birds that feed off your hanging bird feeders will likely take to feeding from a small bird table.

The big three are most of the Tit family, Sparrows and Robins. Well it may be possible to see Dunnocks, Wrens and a number of Finches.

Not all birds feed from bird feeders, let alone bird tables as they only feed off the ground.

So don't only cater for small birds on the table as it may be possible to attract all types of wild birds to your garden in the process by spreading out bird food on the ground.

Well the finished brown painted bird table will mostly wash out the colouring of sparrows, this would help you identify the more colourful Tits.

More sparrows will be found using the bird table over all others, but the Tits will be seen when they turn up and so will the red breasted Robin.

Large birds to keep away

In an effort to keep common large garden birds off your bird table, its largely pigeons and the crow family causing the nuisance.

Its possible you'll also need to make the bird table Jackdaw, Blackbird and Starling proof, but this can be overcome with a purpose built small bird table.

Well the pigeon would be the most common visitor to turn up and clumsily attempt to feed off the table, they're harmless which is all that matters.

And in a way, so are Blackbirds and Starlings but smaller birds do prefer to stay away.

However, with the presence of larger Jackdaws or Crows they can prey on small birds and there young.

Whenever these birds are around, don't leave out feed on the table as it will absolutely attract smaller birds, but will also bring the birds of prey down to where they are.

As a matter of fact, well all these larger birds are present at the bird table, non of the smaller birds will feed until they've gone.

To get pass this issue, you only need to leave out there own food source...

Setup own bird food supply

When we say leave out there own food supply, we're only talking about birds that are being a pain trying to get on, or successfully feeding on the bird feeder.

Do not under any circumstances leave out food for Jackdaws, Crows, etc. the constant supply of food will only worsen as more nuisance birds stop by.

When setting up bird food for larger birds only, make it more for the friendlier Starlings, Blackbirds and even pigeons.

This should distract the large birds from the bird table intended for small birds only, but be warned this is not a certainty.

Small birds will still feed from food intended for large species, and vice-versa.

But what you can do is keep where the small birds feed well away from the larger birds, as the larger birds get in an habit of feeding off that area only.

Where it goes wrong

Biggest mistake you can make when going for a small bird table is one that has no defences to stop big birds from feeding all together.

Its perfectly fine if larger birds manage to perch under the table platform or even land on the roof top; the goal is to never allow them to feed.

If they can eat they will keep trying, therefore will always come back to try again.

If you can stop them eating off the bird table for an extended period of time, they may develop the need to seek out food sources from elsewhere.

Keep all types of bird food in the centre of the platform so its as far out of the way from the outer areas as possible, as to stop them eating up the scraps.

To stop larger birds eating at the bird table, make it squirrel proof. If its squirrel proof then its good enough to keep off medium or larger size birds.

With that in mind, make sure the space under the platform is low, using a wide overhanging ceiling with only 4 to 5 inches to spare.

To Summarise

If you only want to attract small birds to feed on your wooden bird table only, then go for a purpose built small bird table that will only cater for Tits, Sparrows and Robins.

If you are in ownership of a traditional large wooden bird table, know that just being a little inventive will stop large birds from feeding, making way for the smaller species.

For this to happen you can insert a squirrel proof bird feeder onto the platform under the roof so it will only allow for smaller birds to pass through the wired cage.

If it has to be left on its side only make it a peanut or fat ball feeder, as seed feeders require the birds to perch to feed, whereas mesh feeders are accessible from all over.

Large bird tables may have enough room beneath the roof to actually self-balance a squirrel proof feeder in a standing up position.

Better still, there might be an opportunity to use the hanging bird feeder for what is was designed for; to be hung up under the roofed platform, but you'll need to connect a hook.

If you have experience with woodworking it may be possible to setup up a series of wooden dowels spaced between 25mm to 28mm, so only small birds can pass through.

If you do go down this route just be sure to create a doorway so you can add bird feed and clean it up later - so try to create a hinged door.

Share this article: