What are the BEST bird feeders that prevent starlings?
These invasive birds cause all sorts of trouble. But I’m guessing if you are reading this article, you already knew that. 🙂
The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the number of starlings that tend to show up together. These aggressive flocks keep other species away while devouring all of your expensive bird food.
To top it off, they seem like the only species that defecates on and inside my bird feeders! Whatever happened to the rule that you don’t “you know what” where you eat?
One great solution is finding bird feeders that starlings can’t use.
But this task is easier said than done. Just think about it:
The feeder has to allow most other songbirds to feed comfortably AND at the same time stop starlings from gorging themselves on all your seed!
- Check out the LIVE bird cameras in my backyard! You may see some starlings trying to eat right now.
Below, you will find a list of bird feeders that stop or help prevent starlings at your feeding station. Let me know in the COMMENTS section at the end if you have found any other feeders that work well.
The 8 Best Starling Proof Bird Feeders
The Absolute II is one of my favorite all around bird feeders and a great centerpiece for any bird feeding station.
How does this feeder prevent starlings?
The perches are weight-sensitive and close if anything above a certain weight lands on them. One starling will have no problem landing on the perches to feed. But the Absolute II prevents a mob of starlings from sitting there together devouring all the food.
Here’s a video showing how the weight-sensitive perches work:
*You can typically see this starling proof feeder on my bird feeder camera! – Watch LIVE here*
Here are some other reasons I recommend the Absolute II.
- This large hopper bird feeder is where I put my general bird seed mix (sunflower, peanut pieces, safflower, and white millet) that is designed to attract as many species as possible. I love that it holds up to 12 pounds of bird food!
- It is simple to refill and clean. The top lid unlatches easily to open.
- The seed is protected from the rain. I have no problems with seed spoilage due to moisture or dampness.
- The perches are adjustable to different weight sensitivities, which allows you to prevent large and medium-sized birds from eating. It also protects against squirrels!
One look at this bird feeder, and you know how it prevents starlings!
The squares in the cage measure 1.5 in x 1.5 in, which is much too small for starlings to fit through, except maybe an occasional juvenile. It lets most small songbirds through, such as finches, sparrows, and chickadees. Your birds should not have much trouble getting used to flying through the new metal cage.
Please be aware that this feeder is also going to stop ALL larger birds like cardinals, jays, doves, and grackles from eating.
This specific feeder holds about 1.25 lbs of bird food and has 4 feeding perches.
Standard suet feeders can be a magnet for larger bully birds, especially starlings. They go crazy over most types of suet!
And when the annoying flocks of starlings appear, woodpeckers tend to stay away. This is unacceptable to me because woodpeckers are some of my favorite birds to attract and observe at my feeding station.
Luckily, there is a solution:
To avoid starlings but still feed woodpeckers, try using an upside-down suet feeder!
The reason it works is that the only way to eat the suet is to hang upside down. Woodpeckers can accomplish this feat with few problems, but starlings (and grackles) not so much! Starlings might be able to get a bit of suet, but they won’t mob and consume the entire cake in a few hours.
The biggest problem I have had with this feeder is helping the woodpeckers to discover it! But I came up with a strategy which you can see demonstrated in the video below:
My woodpeckers are used to eating from the cage suet feeder, which you can see holding the white suet. I hung this feeder from the bottom of the upside-down suet feeder hoping they would look up and see the delicious suet above them (the suet in the upside-down feeder includes peanuts and sunflower). The good news is that this strategy worked within hours!
On a side note, starlings don’t enjoy eating plain suet nearly as much as suet that includes added peanuts, sunflower, or corn. This is why I chose the plain white suet for the hanging cage feeder, but the upside down feeder has suet with added peanuts and sunflower which is what the larger, aggressive birds desire most.
This caged feeder is a great solution if starlings won’t leave your suet feeders alone!
Starlings aren’t able to fit their bodies through the outer cage to get to the suet.
One drawback is that only smaller woodpeckers, like Downy Woodpeckers, can fit inside. Most larger woodpeckers won’t be able to get to the suet.
- This feeder has a two-cake capacity, meaning there will be plenty of suet to go around for all the small birds that need a bite! Make sure to have patience as your birds need some time to figure out they have to go inside the cage to eat.
- Its all-metal design and screw-top lid make it a great low-maintenance choice for a suet feeder.
- You might notice one or two determined starlings stretching their neck to get a small bit of food. But don’t worry, this feeder will prevent flocks of starlings all showing up and once and decimating the suet within an hour!
Hummingbird feeders are starling proof because starlings don’t drink nectar!
These invasive birds will ignore all of your hummingbird feeders and move on to somewhere else!
- The Hummzinger has a simple dish design, which is why it works well and is extremely popular.
- It is effortless to clean, and there is no leaking!
- This 12 oz model has four feeding ports. If you want a larger option, the HummZinger also comes in a 16 oz model with six feeding ports.
- This product is BY FAR my favorite hummingbird feeder that I have ever owned. It’s inexpensive with no hassle or frustration AND attracts hummingbirds! It just works!
Before buying a hummingbird feeder, you need to realize that feeding hummingbirds can be quite a commitment. You will need to change the sugar water frequently, or you risk getting your hummingbirds sick!
Nyjer is great to use because starlings don’t eat it. I think the seeds are too small for them to mess with. Also, the screened design of this feeder makes it hard for them to stick their bills through anyways.
This starling proof bird feeder is great for attracting goldfinches! I love watching them cling all over the sides to get at the seed. I have counted as many as nine birds eating at once!
- It’s made entirely of metal. Because of this all-metal design, it’s resistant to damage from squirrels (and other critters).
- In the pictures above, you will notice two internal baffles inside the mesh tube. This feature helps to distribute the seed evenly throughout the feeder and provides a larger surface area for finches to feed.
- It is super easy to clean! The top and base twist right off.
- There are tiny holes drilled into the bottom tray to help with drainage. The seed gets wet when it rains due to the open design, but it dries quickly. Just make sure to replace any uneaten seed after about two weeks (depending on weather).
#7. Peanut Wreath
Songbird Essentials Peanut Wreath View Today's Price
As their name suggests, peanut wreaths are used to hold peanuts that are STILL in their shell. This feeder style is particularly attractive to Blue Jays, who love to take a peanut and fly away to consume it privately.
This feeder prevents starlings because they are not able to crack open peanuts! Just take a look at their bill and you will see it’s designed mostly for catching and eating insects. The hard shell of a peanut is way too hard for them to break inside.
Typically, I avoid putting this peanut feeder out during the summer months when I have a lot of grackles hanging around my yard. Grackles also love peanuts, and a big flock can empty the wreath in less than a day! During winter the Blue Jays don’t have as much competition for the peanuts and are usually joined by titmice and chickadees.
#8. ANY feeder with safflower seeds!
This one is a bit of a bonus because you don’t actually have to buy a specific feeder to use this advice.
Safflower seeds themselves seem to be pretty starling proof!
They will ignore this “miracle seed” in favor of pretty much anything else, meaning birds that do like safflower (Cardinals, jays, chickadees, nuthatches, grosbeaks, titmice, doves, and finches) get a chance to eat in peace.
- Safflower seeds are small enough that most feeders will work. Tube feeders, hoppers, and even trays are all great choices for this seed.
- The shells are much less messy than black oil or striped sunflower seeds. They’re smaller and lighter, so they blow away or decompose much easier. Less mess means less cleanup for you, and more time to enjoy the birds!
- In addition to starlings, squirrels and grackles also tend to avoid safflower seed, making it a great choice for avoiding MANY of the bully animals that drive off the birds you want to see.
Final thoughts about starling proof bird feeders:
As you can tell, I am a big believer in deterring starlings in favor of native birds. I hope this list provided a few perfect additions to your backyard. 🙂
But starlings are a worthy opponent. They are not defeated easily, and they are not going to let their free and easy food get taken away without a fight! Combining a few of these feeders will give you the best chance of avoiding a yard full of starlings.
Which type of starling proof feeder works best for you?
Leave a comment below!