The 8 Best STARLING PROOF Bird Feeders! (w/ pics)

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. 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!

The 8 Best Starling Proof Bird Feeders


#1.  Absolute II Bird Feeder

Best Starling Proof Bird Feeders

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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:

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.

#2. Audubon Caged Starling Proof Bird Feeder

bird feeders that prevent starlings

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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.


#3. Birds Choice Upside Down Suet Feeder

suet feeder that prevents large birds

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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.


#4. Stokes Select Caged Suet Feeder

This caged feeder is a great solution if starlings won’t leave your suet feeders alone!starling proof suet bird feeder

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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! 

#5. Aspects HummZinger Nectar Feeder

Best Dish Hummingbird Feeder - Plastic

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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!

  • It is effortless to clean, and there is no leaking!
  • 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!


#6. Perky Pet NYJER SEED Feeder

Finch Feeder Screen Mesh

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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

peanut wreath to feed blue jays

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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.

foods that repel starlings

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!

safflower seeds for preventing starlings

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?

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15 Comments

  1. I discovered last winter that Mocking Birds are aggressive towards Starlings and chase them away. They constantly battle over a nesting hole in a rotted oak branch in my neighbors yard during nesting season. I made friends with the mocking birds by always having a few live mealworms or other bugs I catch and disable out in front of my feeders on the ground or on my deck from which the feeders hang. The Mocking Birds hang out on the edge of my roof or on the clothes line waiting for the food. When Starlings show up, they are persuaded to go elsewhere most of the time. The Mocking Birds don’t seem to bother the other birds that eat at the feeders.

  2. Hello
    I read your comments about starlings with interest. I live in the UK, but we have similar problems when it comes to feeding garden birds!
    My husband and I both enjoy birding, and I myself enjoy drawing and painting birds. We have over the last year put a lot of time and effort into developing a feeding station that now attracts a wide variety of species. We had a lot of success with this, and were enjoying our home birdwatching! We kept trying different foods, and found by a combination of experimentation and careful observation that the number of species which visited was steadily increasing!
    However we found that we had a persistent problem with gangs of starlings, and it was when we were wanting to offer delicious sunflower hearts that we had a particular problem! A simple mesh feeder was much enjoyed to begin with, but soon the starlings discovered it and took over! So then we tried a squirrel proof mesh feeder, which kept the squirrels away but the starlings could reach the food with their long sharp beaks, and soon took over again. At last after much ‘Googling’ I found a feeder designed with wide shoulders, supplied in different versions for seeds, fat balls etc.
    Bingo! The starlings did try, but this one worked!
    I can send you copies of my drawings to illustrate, if you wish.

  3. So sorry to disagree… I tried the caged feeders to get rid of starlings, and they figured out how to squeeze themselves in and eat the seed. 🙁 Now, I’m trying only goldfinch feeders. So far, they have been able to hang on to the black screen and get some. They can’t hang on too long, though.

  4. I have a Stokes Caged Suet Feeder and the Starlings will mob it and clean out two cakes in less than a day.

  5. Thanks for this list, but like another poster I found starlings could eat from an upside down feeder. But here’s another possibility to explore: I bought a caged feeder and saw that while the starlings were excluded (and I suspect grackles would be too but haven’t had them yet this season) the red bellied woodpecker I have can get his long bill in there and get seed out while the starling’s bill is too short. which made me think if one can design the distance from outside the cage to the inside tube feeder plus adjust the size of the grid, one might be able to let some more birds feed (e.g. cardinals) and still exclude the starlings.

  6. The upside down Sujet feeders will not keep Starlings out here in the UK i have never seen birds learn to get around things so darn quickly we use Suet Logs in some of our feeders and a log that is solid 2″ dia and 7″ long is gone inside 25 mins Starlings are a pretty Bird but what a mare

  7. Stokes caged suet feeders do not keep out starlings. The cage is too close to the suet so they can stick their heads in and reach majority of the suet blocks. I may try adding some wire to the top rows so it can only be reached by actually entering the cage or hanging sideways.

    The best way I found to feed the woodpeckers was to put a baffle directly on top of a log for suet plugs. The starlings and house finches were using the top of the log to get down to the suet but without that and keeping it hanging out away from the tree trunk or any branches that have a place other birds can perch it has to be landed directly on and is difficult to grip and reach inside the holes. The other birds still make off with a little on the outer edges of the holes but I don’t fill the top one completely.

  8. Duncraft’s bluebird feeder (https://www.duncraft.com/Baffled-Bluebird-Feeder) works in my yard. It is overpriced and it isn’t perfect but the bluebirds do get a share of the meal worms. Carolina wrens, pine warblers and the occasional titmouse also partake, but the starlings can’t get in and can only get what the other birds fling out of or to the edge of the feeder. I do have to fill the feeder cup multiple times a day to make sure the bluebirds get enough. I’m glad I have this feeder but I’m still looking for additional solutions.

  9. Hi it looks like he has posted the name of the company that make the caged feeders. If you click on the blue writing on each feeder mentioned 1-4 it probably takes you to Amazon.

  10. I have been invaded by Starlings and would love to see a photo of the cages if you made them yourself. I have five feeders and the baffles are way too expensive to buy for every one of them. Thanks!

  11. My feeders are in cages. That’s it. Only the smaller birds can fit through. I also have a “Dinner Bell” a domed feeder that I can lower the dome as low as I want to & only the finches & chickadees can fly up & into the feeder. The tube finch feeders don’t seem to attract the Starlings. They are unable to cling to the tube peanut feeders either. I use wire cages over the platform feeders too. None of the large birds can get into any of my feeders. Problem solved. 🙂

  12. How about for blue birds? Starlings are devouring the mealworms fast than I can sometimes replenish them. They’ve even started chasing the blue birds away from the feeders (I use the Pesky feeder, but it’s been hard to train the blue birds to go inside because of the starlings).

    1. It is so frustrating every time I put out Mealy worms the Starlings show up. Maybe the Absolute II is the feeder to try since it is weight sensitive hope fully the Bluebirds will figure out the mealy worms are in there. The Starlings are such bullies!