3 Proven Ways To Get Rid of Starlings TODAY

My bird feeding station has been designed with care to prevent, repel, deter, and get rid of starlings.

 

And before you say that I should feed all of God’s creatures with a smile on my face, I want you to know that I wholeheartedly disagree!


*Click here to skip directly to the 3 strategies that help stop starlings!*


 

Here are the four reasons why I try to keep European Starlings, also known as “rat birds,” out of my backyard:

 

Starlings are aggressive!

 

One of the best reasons to get rid of starlings is because they are aggressive towards other birds, and it’s not surprising to witness them attacking and scaring away other species from my feeders.

 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology collected thousands of observations from backyard bird watchers across the country to analyze the dominance hierarchy between birds at feeders. For example, if two birds wanted to be on the same perch, The Cornell Lab wanted to see who won and scared the other away.

 

Are you surprised to learn that starlings rarely were pushed around by any other species?

 

Starlings travel in large flocks!

 

We have already established that starlings are aggressive and scare away less passive songbirds.

 

The other problem arises with the fact that starlings don’t travel solo. These loud, raucous birds generally arrive in large flocks, completely taking over your feeding station. I feel bad for any other species that try to sneak in for a quick bite.

keep starlings away from bird feeders

Instead of just one bully coming to your feeder, starlings are like a gang of battle-tested warriors ready to fight any other birds standing in their way.

 

Starlings will put a dent in your wallet!

 

This statement should come as no surprise. What do you think is going to happen to your bird food supply when 30 starlings show up to gorge themselves?!

 

Starlings are invasive to the United States!

 

Did you know that starlings aren’t even supposed to be here? Back in 1890, forty starlings were brought over from Europe and released in New York City’s Central Park. The man responsible (Eugene Schieffelin) had a mission to introduce all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays in North America.

 

The rest is history as starlings easily conquered the continent, along the way outcompeting many of our beautiful native birds. Their ability to eat almost anything and adapt to human development is uncanny, and second to no other species, except maybe the House Sparrow.

 

Thanks for nothing Eugene!

 


Do you see any starlings in my yard?

 

Even implementing the strategies listed below, starlings are extremely hard to prevent in your backyard!

 

Here is a LIVE look at my bird feeding station. You may see a starling right now being obnoxious (especially during the cold winter months!)

*Watch all of the LIVE cams in my backyard HERE.*


Now let’s talk about 3 effective ways to get rid of European Starlings!

 

1. Choose Your Food Wisely.

 

This strategy is my favorite way to keep starlings away from bird feeders.

 

Let’s look at the body type of a European Starling. Specifically, take a closer look at their beak.

foods that repel starlings and deter starlings

The shape of a starlings beak is long, pointy, and soft, which is perfect for eating invertebrates such as insects, spiders, worms, snails, and caterpillars. Their beak also allows them to eat fruit, grains, and smalls seeds.

 

If you are using any of the below foods at your feeding station, then you are at risk for a starling invasion!

 

Foods that attract starlings to your backyard:

 

Cracked corn: Starlings can’t resist cracked corn, and it might be their favorite food! Remove immediately to help get rid of starlings.

Sunflower kernels/chips: Because of their soft and pointy bills, starlings like any seed that has already been cracked open, such as sunflower chips.

Suet with corn, peanuts, etc.: In my backyard, starlings go crazy for suet, but only if it has cracked corn, peanuts, or other shelled seed inside. If I just put out plain suet, they tend to leave it alone.

Shelled peanuts

Millet

Mealworms: Invertebrates make up a large portion of a starlings diet in nature, so this is not surprising.

Bread or other human food: There is a reason starlings thrive living around people. They love many of the same things we eat!

 

So what foods keep starlings away from our bird feeders?

 

Knowing which types of food that starlings don’t prefer is critical in your quest to prevent them. Small shifts in the foods I offer in my feeding station has made an enormous difference in keeping them away.

 

Because of their slender and soft break, starlings have trouble eating any food that has a thick outer shell. Their break doesn’t provide the type of leverage or power needed to crack open.

 

Foods that help deter starlings:

 

Black-oil sunflower: Starlings will eat black-oil sunflower, but in my humble opinion they don’t seem to love it. If you have a big starling problem, you may also need to remove black-oil sunflower, but luckily I have not had many issues offering it.

Striped sunflower: Starlings are not able to open the thick shell!

Safflower: The miracle seed! Starlings, squirrels, and other blackbird species don’t care for safflower, but most other feeder birds (cardinals, chickadees, etc.) eat it willingly.

Peanuts in the shell: A starling’s wimpy beak can’t break open.

Nyjer: Too small for starlings to bother.

Suet: When I buy pure rendered white suet without ANY other ingredient added, the starlings don’t bother it as much. Starlings go crazy over suet if it has corn, peanuts, and other tasty treats included.

 

And there you have it.

 

Being aware of the foods in my backyard is the central part of my starling prevention strategy.

 


2. Use a starling proof bird feeder.

 

A great way to keep starlings away from your bird feeders is to buy one that they physically CAN’T use.

 

The good news is that deploying a starling proof bird feeder will stop starlings from feeding. The bad news is that the feeder will also prevent any other medium size bird or larger from eating, including many that you want to see!

 

Here are three feeder styles that prevent starlings you can try:

 

Caged bird feeders:

A metal cage encloses the feeder. The holes are small enough to keep starlings (and squirrels) away, but big enough to let most smaller songbirds through to feed.

starling proof bird feeder

Woodlink caged tube feeder Check Price - Amazon

 

Weight sensitive feeders:

These feeders can typically be adjusted to close when a certain amount of weight is applied.

 

I own the Absolute II hopper bird feeder below, and it’s one of the favorites in my backyard.

Absolute II hopper feeder  View Today's Price

 

If needed, I can make the perches incredibly sensitive to weight, where all but the smallest songbirds, like chickadees and finches, push the perch down to close access to the bird food.

 

Upside-down suet feeders:

I thoroughly enjoy feeding suet to woodpeckers in my backyard. The problem is that starlings also LOVE eating most varieties of mixed suet.

 

One way around this is to purchase a suet feeder that forces birds to cling and feed upside down. Woodpeckers have no problem with this method, but starlings don’t particularly enjoy eating like this.

Birds Choice Upside-Down Suet Feeder  View $ on Amazon 

 

My upside-down suet feeder has done a great job preventing starlings from devouring all my suet. Unfortunately, my woodpeckers also don’t seem to like it as much as my regular 2-cake suet feeder.

 


My final thoughts on starling proof bird feeders:

 

If you have a big starling problem in your backyard, it may be best to combine strategies! Use starling proof bird feeders along with foods that they don’t enjoy.

 

For example, you could put striped sunflower, safflower, and whole peanuts in your hopper, tube, or tray feeders. Then put food that starlings love like sunflower chips, peanut pieces, or cracked corn inside a starling proof bird feeder.

 


3. Discourage starlings from nesting in your backyard.

 

Starlings are cavity nesters and prefer using vents and other small openings around your house to build nests and raise their young.

 

I live in a suburban neighborhood and commonly see starlings flying in and out of the vents located on the sides of almost every home.

 

Luckily as a homeowner, it’s an easy fix to prevent starlings from nesting in your vents. Simply seal any opening with a vent cover. Many are made specifically to keep birds out AND still function normally.

 

Nest boxes must be monitored!

get rid of starlings from nestboxes

As cavity nesters, starlings are naturally attracted to any nestbox in your backyard. To keep them away there a few things you can do.

 

First, select a nestbox that has a hole diameter of less than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). This hole size is too small for starlings to fit through.

 

If your nest box is large enough for starlings, then it’s going to take active management on your behalf to ensure that they aren’t nesting inside. During Spring and Summer, my advice is to monitor your boxes daily and remove starling nests and eggs as soon as you see them. (Since European Starlings are invasive and not native to North America, they are not protected by The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means humane destruction of nests and eggs is allowed.)

 

Many starlings prefer using the same nesting location year after year, so it’s vital to make sure they never start using your nest boxes!

 


I really don’t hate starlings as much as you think.

 

In this post, I have spent the entire time beating up on starlings and providing ways to keep them away from your bird feeders.

 

But now that they are under control in my backyard I don’t hate European Starlings as much as I used too. It’s even nice to see them once in a while. Their iridescent black plumage can be stunning when viewed in the right light, and their ability to mimic the sounds of other birds is impressive. I even respect the fact they are incredibly adaptable and have thrived in an ever-changing landscape.

 

But do you want to know my favorite thing about starlings?

 

It’s the magical way they travel in enormous flocks, called murmurations. See the video below for an incredible display! It’s absolutely mesmerizing.  The action starts at about the 25-second mark.

 


Final Thoughts

 

If you want to prevent starlings and stop them from coming to your bird feeders, I have found these three effective strategies work:

 

  • Offer foods that starlings don’t eat. 

  • Use starling proof bird feeders.

  • Eliminate potential starling nest locations.

 

I’d like to hear some feedback.

 

What is your favorite way to prevent, deter, and repel starlings?

 

How do you stop them from taking over your backyard feeding station?

 

101 responses to “3 Proven Ways To Get Rid of Starlings TODAY”

  1. patricia parrish says:

    I purchased an upside down suet feeder. However, my crazy Starlings have learned to feed upside down and clean it out within hours. They are a very smart bird and quite adaptable! Going to try the caged suet feeder, however not sure my Red bellied woodpecker will be able to use it.

  2. Sue says:

    Katie, I’ve never seen a cardinal eat suet from my feeders! I do know they love safflower and sunflower seeds, though–and the starlings don’t go near the safflower. Those starlings really are thugs, aren’t they?

  3. Katie says:

    OMGGG I’m being overrun with starlings! You should.come help me LOL I live in Dover! I saw on one of your cameras you’re in akron. I’m so glad I found this article!!!! They literally are horrible. They scream and chase away ANY other bird!! And they’ve started to eat my cat food too. Every day I come out and the bowl is empty and I have bird shit ALL over my porch lol. I’m still new to all this and so I’ve only been feeding them yummy suet….so im definitely happy I found this article. Going to invest in some new feeders they can’t get to and food. I have a cardinal nest in my rhododendron and I never see my cardinals eating the suet. Probably too scared of these starlings !

  4. Starlinghater says:

    Wish that were true here in England!! They are a protected species so no one will destroy nests or block holes where starlings have nested. They are such pests and always screeching making mess etc

  5. Liz says:

    Starlings are GREEDY!! Unlike most birds, who only eat a little at a time, Starlings wipe out the mealworms I have for the bluebirds within minutes of filling the feeder. I hate to burst your self-righteous bubble, but mealworms are expensive, so I can’t afford fed the damned Starlings $20 worth every day. If they only ate their share, it wouldn’t be so bad, but they don’t stop until it is empty, leaving nothing for the the other, enjoyable birds.

  6. Diana D'Orazio says:

    I disagree. I have a cardinal nest inside a bush outside my window and have seen them pecking at the baby chicks. They have been aggressive towards me and are trying to peck through the sides of my air conditioner. I hate them. I actually own a bird so you know I love birds. These birds are aggressive and need to be eliminated or else there will be no other birds.

  7. Aileen Carrick says:

    Hi sue, I too feed the Orioles, I am in wny and my orioles wont touch welchs grape jelly. They only eat Berryhill from Aldis. I have been feeding them over 10 yrs.now. i normally use 60 to 65 30oz. Jars of jelly. Catbirds, Downey woodpeckers, grosebeaks also eat it. The woodpeckers also like nector from both oriole and hummingbird feeders. There are so many beautiful birds I never knew we had until we moved to a more secluded place, I already have baby blues ready to fledge in the next couple days. And it is so cold and rainy. Yesterday hummingbirds showed up, poor things. Happy Birding!

  8. Michael says:

    Thank you! At first I thought these little as*holes were funny with their squeaky toy chirp. Then the fing babies came! It’s out of control and I know my neighbors have had enough with their constant shrill sounds they make. Unfortunately I had to remove all the food in my backyard because of them! My poor Squirrels Batgirl and Jack just don’t understand to include Deacon my favorite crow! They still won’t leave but I have a RedRyder BB gun and I’m about to put some copper up their bumm!

  9. James Dakis says:

    The key is to find out if the animal is listed as a pest, or is listed as something that can be hunted and has a specific season. For example, here in Kansas, European Starlings are considered an invasive species and as such can be shot, captured, etc. without any license or limit, unlike most native birds.

  10. Sarah Delaney says:

    Totally agree

  11. Steve says:

    One thing I have seen is to build a feeder that has openings that are small enough to only allow small birds to get through and in to the food. The best design I’ve seen is a feeder about 18″ long and had vertical dowels on both sides about 1.5″ apart that allowed small birds to get in/out but prevented bigger birds and squirrels from getting in. Unfortunately, that was about 20 years ago that I saw that at a neighbor’s house and do not have a picture of it.

  12. Anna says:

    Perhaps melt down the suet and add birdseed and/or peanuts to it?

  13. Patricia Wangen says:

    I have bluebirds and feed them homemade peanut butter suet and mealworms. The starlings are wiping these feeders out! Any ideas on how to make them starling proof? Also would you post pictures of of your rain shield and wire mesh so I can modify for my feeders? Thanks so much.

  14. Valerie Halliwell says:

    This year I was upset to find that suddenly I was feeding a mass of starlings. About a week after the starling influx we were swamped by starlings AND a crowd of cow birds! Then several days later a troop of grackles arrived! Luckily starlings don’t feed alongside grackles so they have mostly left, leaving a bunch (large!) of grackles and cowbirds. The only saving grace is that they are easy to chase away when I go out and clap my hands – the “legitimate” birds either don’t go anywhere or return immediately. Of course the respite doesn’t last and the bullies return. At least he finches aren’t affected as they have their caged feeders.
    Thank you for allowing me to vent!

  15. Linda S says:

    That is what happened to me. I had to return the feeder, I wasn’t going to feed the Starlings who figured out how to master the inverted feeder.

  16. NatureGirl says:

    This was a timely article, as the starlings have recently discovered my feeders. Thankfully, my feeders are right outside my window and I can easily scare them off by showing my face or tapping on the glass. Hate these birds, but love the murmurations. I just wish they were all migrating to bird hell. 😉

  17. Craig Wiedder says:

    Starlings & Mourning Doves. The authors advice on food and feeders is valuable. Here’s a couple of other thoughts on the feeders: Platform Feeder. I made a platform feeder with a roof on it. The openings between the feeder and the roof allowed the Starlings to enter with ease. I bought some 1″ x 1″ wire mesh, and hung it around the perimeter of the roof, down past the height of the feeder. I have enlarged the 1″ x 1″ openings (a few on each side) in the mesh to 2″ x 2″ with a wire cutter and this seems to be doing the trick. I have seen a couple of times that a Starling has decided to enter, but it seem to be every uncomfortable in the confined space, soon left, and has not returned. It has taken the Cardinals and Woodpeckers a while to adjust, but so far so good. Round Dome Feeder. The next thing that I have tried it to lower the height of the clear plastic rain shield above by homemade “pan” round feeder. the enter thru the openings and The diameter of the rain shield is 16″ and the diameter of the pan is 12″. After lowering the height of the rain shield to about 4″ above the pan, the Doves quickly lost interest. The overhang of the rain shield and the reduced entrance space seems to have deterred them. For the Starlings I had to again use the wire mesh. Again, a 2″ wide x 3″ tall opening in the wire mesh allows the bigger Cardinals to stand on the edge and reach-in for food. The smaller birds enter with ease and roam around inside.

  18. Jay says:

    I agree, do everything you can to discourage the starlings around your property. If you like bluebirds, woodpeckers, chickadees and other cavity nesters, starlings aren’t good neighbors with them. They steal their cavities and kill their nestlings and take over. And they are some of the most prolific birds—they lay six or seven eggs and there are one or two breeding attempts a year. So you can see how their population grows like gangbusters, and our beloved native songbird population has been diminished by them.

  19. Nancy J Starling says:

    I have found the starlings who visit my bird feeders to be quite intelligent – like the one I married.

  20. ruthinman says:

    We found that the woodpeckers do like the plain suet but you don’t need to put those in the upside down feeder. Starlings don’t like that plain suet so just hang it in a normal vertical fashion so the woodpeckers don’t have to try so hard to get it. Also try some black oil sunflower seeds or the striped sunflower seeds. Starling beaks aren’t made to crack those open. And definitely stay away from cracked corn they love it.

  21. Kelly T says:

    I bought mine at wildbirdsunlimited.com

  22. Renee says:

    I have a Bluejay that makes a hawk cry and the starlings scatter when he is around. To keep them out of my heated bird bath I invert 1 to 2 wire plant baskets and place them in the bird bath so the starlings can’t splash all the water out. Other birds are still able to drink in the winter time.

  23. Michele says:

    What worked for me is buying the cage feeder and I fill it with peanuts and shelled sunflower seeds chickadees and other small birds use it a lot! then fill the hopper and platform feeder with black oil seed. Buy the cage feeder it works!!

  24. Dean says:

    I found the best way to get rid of them was with a air rifle they soon learn to dont come when see other dropping to floor.

  25. Bernadette MacNeil says:

    I bought an upside down suet feeder and within two weeks the starlings mastered hanging upside down and eating it:(

  26. Sue says:

    Because it’s winter and cold I brought my suet feeders back out. I have a large cage feeder that holds 4 suet cakes, plus a new feeder where the suet is accessible only from the underside (it looks like a little house). I filled both with pure white suet and waited. And waited. Turns out not only do starlings hate pure suet, the jays and woodpeckers hate it, too! Great. Just GREAT. I gave in and refilled the cage feeder with peanut-based suet. And the starlings are back. They were all over it today, fighting and squabbling with each other, causing such a ruckus that all the other birds stayed away, too. I find it interesting that even the Jays won’t take on the starlings–they are too scared and the starlings too vicious.

    So now I have all these boxes of pure suet that no one will eat, and those darn starlings besides. My last resort is to take away the cage feeder and just fill the upside-down one and see what happens. Supposedly starlings aren’t able to hang upside down to eat, but I’ll bet those evil bird-brains will figure it out. A gal can’t win! I don’t mind feeding the starlings–it’s just their bullying behavior that chaps my *ss. Gah! How is everyone else doing at winter feeding?

  27. Bird Lover says:

    We can’t seem to find cages that keep them out either. Did you build something?

  28. Elizabeth Webb says:

    Will starlings eat peanut butter suet? I’m considering putting some out.

  29. TheKosherCoonhound™ says:

    I have a huge flock that suddenly descended on me last Thursday. I had put out a suet feeder a couple of days earlier when I saw my first woodpeckers so I guess they got wind of that and then noticed all the other goodies in the yard. I had just managed to get everything set up so the other birds had access to all their favorites and the squirrels left the bird’s food alone as I set up some other stuff for them & the chipmunks. Based on coming across this, I removed the suet feeder & waste free goodies/mealworms from the hoppers to fill them with the in shell peanuts & black oil sunflower I have. It looks like I’m getting a lot less Starlings today (though still seeing some and chasing them off). I guess I need to pick up more Nyjer seed & some safflower seed, as well as the upside down suet feeder to keep the rest of the locals happy until I’m pretty sure the Starlings are gone. I’d never seen Starlings in my neighborhood until last week and, as beautiful as they can be, it was really annoying to see all the trouble they stirred up especially as all the other critters (including the Grackles) were getting along just fine and sharing the feed/feeders without issue.

  30. Rhonda Chesnutt says:

    Actually the hot pepper bark buster peanut butter chips are awesome to put in birdfeeders as the squirrels hate them and will not come near them Birds have no smell so could care less. My woodpeckers eat them with glee my song birds munch everything else and the squirrels looks sad in the trees

  31. Mamil says:

    I used the spikes over my windows only to find that they anchored the nests to the spikes.

  32. Proe says:

    Stumbled across this website as I was searching for info on Starlings. My experience (backyard), includes using their intelligence against them. I can clap now and the sparrows, robins and doves won’t flinch, yet the Starlings know to leave. It’s funny the first time in Spring to watch them confused, and try to come back when the other birds don’t leave. It’s kinda like “why us?” They get it the second time.

    I feed the birds enriched Budgie food at the dollar store which starlings don’t like. If you spread it around the grass and yard, the birds all get along and eat it slowly spaced out. Tthe squirrels won’t waste their time for such small rewards versus the time and effort. Rabbits will much on it too.

    Bird bath is loved by the starlings and they get it dirty and bathe in it til it’s empty. At June I shut down the pool and place rocks all around with a large brick at the center slanted on some stones. It’s easy to clean with hose pressure underneath, and no one can take a bath, except drink. Starlings usually in September go out into the more woody areas, so the pool opens for the other birds.

    They are aggressive as they will chase sparrows and kill them (eat them too). They usually have a brood of 4-6 that never stop yapping. I just clap and they are gone. Blue Jays eat other birds young too and can get really noisy too.

    So when I finally upload pictures of this I will let you know.

  33. Kim Walsh says:

    Tell me more about how you bait

  34. Lois Vining says:

    Hey, Gary, Lois from NE Ohio here, signing up for that militia you’re forming! Right now, we’ve got one ‘family’ of starlings trying to hit our feeders. Mama and daddy have learned that when I walk to the patio doors they’re gonna get shot at. (Yes, they can see me, our patio door is shaded by a big silver maple) We actually had a pair of bluebirds nest close to our place this year. Previous years the starlings have driven them off. This year they stuck around, they’ve brought the kiddos to the feeder and were feeding them! It was a beautiful sight. We’re now waiting to see some of the Baltimore Oriole youngsters! We have 3 pair coming to the feeder, so when the youngsters show up, it’ll be fun!

    Keep up the good fight! Sounds like you’re making some progress. Here’s to starling-free birding!

    Lois

    .

  35. Sue says:

    Hi Ted, I am feeding orange halves & grape jelly to Baltimore Orioles and catbirds. Both birds love the jelly most (Welch’s Grape Jelly–they don’t like the discount stuff!) but also like peeled ripe pears. I’m experimenting to see what fruits they like.

    I find that pole baffles are 100% effective at keeping squirrels away. They cannot get up the pole, therefore cannot get at the feeders. I use an Audubon Woodlink 18″ Black Wrap Around Metal Squirrel Baffle on my shepherd’s crook poles. All the squirrels get are the fallen seeds from the messy birds, and the occaisional handful I drop for them out of pity.

  36. Ted says:

    Michigan : Sec. 9.1 (1) English sparrows, feral pigeons, and starlings may be taken by hunting statewide, year around except within state park and recreation areas from April 1 to September 14. My neighbors would call the police and hate me but I wish I could start hitting them with the air rifle.

  37. Ted says:

    Sue, tell me about orange halves? I am new to bird feeding. I just bought my first squirrel buster feeder and love it. Just trying to get these flying rats off my feeder. Going to try all safflower when my current feed is gone this week. Thanks. SE Michigan here,

  38. Ted says:

    I am going to try all safflower when my current feed is out. They are flying rats and a family of 5 is jacking up my feeder.

  39. Sue says:

    Awesome development! The thuggish starling family of 6 is gone in less than a week! I took away the suet (sorry, woodpeckers!) and the mealworms (sorry Orioles!) and left the nyjer, safflower, & black sf seeds, plus grape jelly & orange halves. They tossed sunflower seeds around angrily for a day or so, then left.

    My peaceable kingdom of pretty, polite birds has returned. I’m already arming myself for late fall/winter suet feeding; I bought an upside-down suet feeder and pure, suet-only cakes. We’ll see how it goes. This is such a great resource!

  40. Becky says:

    Amen! Those mouthy teens were at it by 5:30 this morning. I only have my nyjer feeders and a platform feeder out now with striped sunflower seeds. I need to get safflower seeds. I haven’t bought it in a while, but it’s going to have to make a comeback.

    Thanks for the article, Scott!

  41. Dan says:

    Ohio Revised Code: European starlings, English sparrows, and common pigeons, other than homing pigeons, may be killed at any time and their nests or eggs may be destroyed at any time.
    Check your local laws regarding the legality of using specific weapons/methods.

  42. Sue says:

    I had the nicest collection of purple finches, goldfinches, cardinals, jays, titmice, catbirds, several varieties of woodpeckers, several pair of Baltimore Orioles, and even a Northern flicker. Mourning doves, too–but blech who cares.

    I was feeding peanut and orange suet cakes, nyjer thistle, safflower (all the birds seemed to love it!) black oil ss, grape jelly, oranges, and mealworms in cake form. To say I was proud of my outdoor aviary is putting it mildly.

    And then 2 starlings and their 4 teens moved in. When the overgrown teens aren’t begging their parents for food (they are BIGGER than their parents and demanding to be fed! It’s almost comical!) they are fighting like bullied siblings and keeping the other birds away. So I Googled, found your article, and have started eviction proceedings. Everything is gone except the nyjer, safflower, grape jelly. That shitty family of starlings have GOT to go!

  43. JRiley says:

    Could you tell me, please, where you bought this bird feeder for your blue birds? Mine get no chance at all to eat and I’m sick of it. I have as many as two dozen starlings at a time hogging all the food. I’m at the point of giving up feeding the birds altogether and it breaks my heart.

  44. Christina says:

    I cannot stand these birds. They have started attacking our little kittens outside and stealing their food. Dang birds are the worst.
    Nothing I do seems to be keeping them away! Ugh

  45. alaya says:

    Use bird spikes. Sounds brutal but is not. they cant land on the roof where the spikes are. order online. they work.

  46. amandanator says:

    It’s not required to have a license for any animal that is considered invasive or a varmint, at least not where I live. I just watched the starlings completely empty a 2 quart feeder this afternoon. They only ate what they wanted and threw the rest on the ground. Then they chased all the other birds around the feeder, harassing them. Hate them with a white hot passion.

  47. gary m wellendorf says:

    Hi Lois, My name is Gary from Youngstown like Scott love to talk with other people from North Ohio. Besides we are forming a militia brigade in case they make a run to overthrow our turf LOL! You gave some great tips so thanks for that, also i LOVE MY RED BELLIES my big male will give his all till they overpower him with numbers. I’m on disability and now retired so I have more time to do battle!!!! It really is frustrating besides all I do when I’m home I actually keep a towel by the feeders and cover them when I leave for awhile. It’s been working and my regular birds are patient enough to wait for my return, which I credit to my homemade suet! Hang in there, have the bset birding possible!!!!!!

  48. Nancy McBride says:

    Bottom line. The birds are not supported to be on this continent. Kill the damn things before they procreate. Period.

  49. Cass says:

    Well, no it’s not illegal to shoot things that are a nuisance. Sound like a 100% karen. So glad I dont have neighbors like this.
    Been feeding everything for months, making own food. About 2-3 weeks ago starlings started coming in and chased most away. They are the worst.

  50. Lois Vining says:

    Hey, Scott, I have developed a new battle tactic in my war against the starlings, grackles and cowbirds that drive our songbirds away from our feeders. I remembered a trick my dad put us in charge of when our cherry tree was almost ready to be picked. A few aluminum pie tins hung in various places in the tree and my brother’s trusty old Red Rider BB gun. You can hear the starlings and their groupies heading in for a raid. When I do, I grab the BB gun. The BB hitting a pie tin makes enough racket to drive them off. It’s like everything else that’s been mentioned on this thread, it only works when you’re home. Luckily, I’m retired and am home most days. And a plastic pellet will make the same racket that a metal BB does.

    Just thought I’d throw this out there..

  51. Ava Stevens says:

    I used to love to see blue Jays in my yard, but, I saw one dive bomb into a nest and grab the egg, rap it on the side and eat it! Hate them ever since!

  52. Destaney S Johnson says:

    It is NOT illegal to shoot all animals/birds without a license. If they are a nuisance and not a protected species, You can shoot them especially with a varmint gun.

  53. STARLING HUNTER says:

    YES!! We do the same! Just be responsible with shooting and there’s no issue. My neighbors don’t even hear my rifle ( it’s a Gamo Varmint 1250) and I live in a city literally on the same block as the cop shop! These birds are the cockroaches of the bird world and we are doing our native species a huge solid! Thank goodness for more like minded people!

  54. Samantha H says:

    I’ve been shooting the damn things! Nosey neighbors can mind their own business!

  55. Samantha H says:

    How bout minding your own business in your own yard!

  56. Amy says:

    I have starlings nesting in the trees behind my house. I never see them at my feeder but they make a mess everywhere! My car is covered in their droppings. Do hawk or owl decoys work?

  57. gary m wellendorf says:

    Hey Scott, Gary from Youngstown and you are so right, starling wars are in full attack mode! I got the hose always ready when I’m outside, my new weapon is an air horn kept by the window that I look out. I’m sure my neighbors are trying to figure out where that horn is blowing from at 6 in the morning.LOL I’m just lucky I have time on my hands to battle them. I won’t deprive my woodpeckers that savory suet I make lol. Besides I actually have some grossbeaks seem to be sticking around, the males are really outstanding.As usual thanks for your advice and keeping us informed!

  58. Bob says:

    There seems to be no hope.

  59. Julia says:

    We’ve been using squirt guns for about a week now! Obviously only works when we are outside, but has helped reduce the frequency of their visits. Now, if we are sitting outside and the arrive all we have to do is pick up the squirt gun and they take off!!!

  60. Starling Hunter says:

    We got fed up. Started bait & shoot. Not only are these birds a menace to feeders but they also push out other cavity dwelling birds such as bluebirds and woodpeckers. They are invasive, non native species and we intend to get the numbers down as low as possible so our native birds can grow and thrive without them. So far it’s working

  61. Starling Hunter says:

    “I’d probably call the damned cops” OK Karen. There’s always that one nosed neighbor peeking out of their blinds ready to report.…

  62. Starling Hunter says:

    Ok Karen

  63. T says:

    Hi Jess, I feel your pain also. The only thing I have discovered is you can slow them down but you can’t stop them unless you have cages around everything where they can not reach the food at all.

  64. Meghan W says:

    LOL. I too have this problem, but im glad to see I’m not the only one!!

  65. Meghan W says:

    Sadly I’m in the same boat…

  66. Meghan W says:

    Me too. I’m also at a loss…

  67. Jess says:

    I have conceded the battle against starlings. I can’t afford to feed at this point–they eat so much, and I have tried everything. Safflower? check–nothing would eat it and the starlings would just sling it all over the yard looking for something else. Wasted. Upside down suet feeder? check–the starlings hover underneath like hummingbirds and pick it clean (both a regular upside down cake version AND an upside down log for suet plugs). Caged feeder? Check, they just cling on the wire and stick their heads in to eat from the tray/ports. Weighted perch feeder? check. They get on there and when the hopper closes, they start flapping their wings while holding the perch so it opens up…quickly sling food all over the grown then drop down to eat it. Striped or black oil sunflower? check and check– they destroy both kinds with fervor. The ONLY thing they don’t eat is the thistle seed.
    I had several cardinals, a blue jay, a downy woodpecker, a red bellied woodpecker, goldfinches coming on a regular basis until these starlings descended and took over. Now they are all I see besides grackles and purple finches. I have spent so much money with no luck.

  68. stargatedalek says:

    It is illegal to shoot animals, even non-natives, without a hunting or pest license. Shooting animals with slingshots and pellet/BB guns in particular is often considered inhumane in many jurisdictions.

    Switch to humane methods or hire a professional. If I was your neighbour I’d probably call the damned cops.

  69. stargatedalek says:

    “It’s technically legal to kill their babies hint hint.”

    “I don’t hate them as much as you might think.”

    Yah, why don’t I believe you…

  70. Trina says:

    Hi Scott,
    I to have problems with starlings but I’m getting
    them under control I’m down to
    about 6 or 7 everyday now but my question is
    how long do you leave the safflower out before
    they decide to move on?
    Thanks

  71. Allan Eaton says:

    blue jays , grackles , woodpeckers & grey squirrels also eat nestlings!

  72. Maureen says:

    Elizabeth, are you in an area that’s secluded so you don’t have to worry about neighbors? I would love to use a pellet gun, which I know will be much more effective than my slingshot, but am concerned about neighbors. I HAVE hit two starlings so far, though 🙂

  73. Kellbell says:

    I have literally tried everything from upside down feeders to safflower seed to Domed feeders, they adapt. I only feed black oil sunflower seed, they LOVE it. I tried only safflower seed, nothing and I mean nothing ate it, I waited months and even the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks didn’t want it. I’m at my wits end here. I’ve taken feeders away for weeks only to have all of them come back the day I put them back out in a different spot. I laughed at others saying about their neighbors, I’m sure mine think I’m crazy screaming at these birds, running out there with a broom all day lol. I am going to try the wireless doorbell that’s about three only thing I haven’t tried. But for me these birds have adapted to every method I’ve tried and I’m sadly about to concede. I am a bird nerd and love feeding all my beautiful birds but I can’t afford 40lbs of food a day yes they literally eat this much. Anyone has any other ideas not mentioned above, I’m all ears.

  74. Debby says:

    I had a big problem with starlings eating the dried mealworms for my lovely bluebirds. But I bought a bluebird feeder with a roof that opens on one half of the top and holes in the sides. It was a bit difficult for the bluebirds to access it but I made some great adjustments.
    My husband drilled small holes under the round openings and I put a stick in them all the way through. (Like an orchid stick.) The bluebirds perch on this and they are able to get inside. I also drilled an entrance hole in the clear viewing plastic side and put a small perch here too.
    Just make sure the perches are only long enough to fit tiny bluebird feet.

    This set-up entirely solved my starling vs bluebird problem.

  75. Heather Wiese says:

    That video of the murmuration was terrifying. Imagine how loud it would be. And those girls were stuck in a canoe. Cool seeing it safely behind a phone screen though.

    I dealt with the starlings, now sparrows are the ones I’m having a problem with. They eat everything, even safflower. And they cling onto my finch sock.

  76. Gloria Weston-Webb says:

    Well we have a problem with starlings and don’t want to stop other birds visiting, especially our blue Jay. My husband has put a wireless doorbell on the bird table, which does not bother the birds. When we have an influx of starlings watching from our kitchen window, we press the portable bell push and with the chime the starlings disappear. We found the starlings are getting lesser by degree, but obviously only works when you are at home.

  77. gary wellendorf says:

    so glad to know i’m not the only one acting crazy over these ” loud squaking pooping pains in the — birds” I wonder what my neighbors think of me standing outside yelling at these birds with a hose in my hand. I will say one thing the sound of the hose sends them scattering. lol. and I really enjoy the stubborn ones that will stand there ground and stare me down untill the blast of water knocks them of their feet!!!!! love your site always helpful thanks

  78. Kim says:

    lol just read this. I have also email the university on how to keep the starlings away from my new hatchling doves. (Other then a spray bottle, clap etc) I do know that they will grab a baby bird! They are everywhere now in my yard!! I stopped feeding the birds when I noticed the Mourning Doves were nesting! What do I have to do grab my broom and start scaring them! These baby doves will be dropping to the ground soon and I have enjoyed watching the parents switch shift and now I have two hatchlings. The female gave it away the other day when I watched her carry empty eggshells out of the nest! I am not about to watch a CAT, STARLING, SQUIRREL or any other creature KILL THESE BABY DOVES ONCE THEY GO TO THE GROUND TO LEARN HOW TO FLY!!!

  79. Mike says:

    I’m on the cusp of a real starling problem, but in my experience, even before the starlings, the safflower was/is always the last thing left in my feeder… I guess you’re saying that if all I offered was safflower the birds I want would still eat it and come just as frequently? I was even debating getting a mix without safflower at all until I read your post. Which of the smaller birds will eat striped sunflower? Maybe I need to go ahead and buy a special feeder instead… Thanks for the advice and direction!

    • Scott says:

      Yes, most birds prefer sunflower over safflower, but if there is nothing but safflower they have to eat it! Most songbirds have no problem eating safflower. Striped sunflower is hit and miss just depends on the species.

  80. Elizabeth Miller says:

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned that starlings eat baby birds too. I saw a starling pull a baby bluebird out of the box. That made me sick!!! So, it’s been a war ever since. I shoot them with my pellet gun. I use LEAD FREE pellets and my red-tailed hawks get starling for dinner. Hope most of you know that lead bullets, pellets, and BBs can kill raptors. They eat the animal shot and get lead poisoning.

  81. Lois Vining says:

    Hey Scott, I live in NE Ohio and have been battling starlings at our feeders for at least 15 yrs. However, changing the mixed seed for straight safflower in our hopper feeders has helped to a degree. They’ll still eat it, but they don’t empty it out every day. We recently bought a tube feeder and a cage that we keep filled with the small seed for our ‘little bitty birds’. We started having a problem with the red winged blackbirds and starlings flying up under the cage to get to the seed. Enter 1/4″ hardware cloth. I cut a square about 2″ bigger than the bottom of the cage opening, folded the corners up and secured 2 to the cage with twist ties. Problem solved! Now, my current project is to find a way to keep the starlings from taking over a red bellied woodpecker nest. Those flying rats chased them away for a wk after the cavity was completed. Hubs and I got the ladder out, grabbed 2 metal landscape fabric pins and a small hook and wedged them inside the cavity. We took all suet feeders down except the upside down and waited. Took a week, but we’re hoping they’ve moved on down the road. The male red belly showed up today, started squawking so we got the ladder out, pulled the pins out, came inside and waited. Sure enough, he came back and started calling for his mate. It took 45 min but she’s back. Now, trying to figure out how to make a cover/shield to keep the rats from coming back and trying to start the bullying again.. Any suggestions?

    • Scott says:

      Hello Lois! Well, we are basically neighbors and it’s always fun to hear from anyone local. And wow it sounds like you have really gone to war with starlings! Unfortunately, I am not incredibly handy so if it involves making something then I still need to call my dad over LOL. Sorry, I can’t be of more help!

  82. Susan Ervin says:

    I absolutely despise starlings. The bluebirds come to my yard for mealworms, passively allowing the starlings to TAKE OVER, unless I stand at the door and make loud noises to scare them away. I put packaged suet out for the woodpeckers, and peanuts in mesh feeders, then the starlings hang around ALL DAY and devour every crumb. Thank you for recommending the use of caged feeders and providing “real” suet without added seeds. I love watching the songbirds, but can’t afford to refill the feeders 3x day because of these rats. I guess spending $$ on better feeders will save $$ in birdfood in the long run. I will not give up. THIS IS WAR!

    • Scott says:

      Hey Susan. I agree with you, the more I feed birds the less I want the starlings to have ANY of the food! Good luck, it’s a hard war to win. Most days I feel like I am losing. 🙂

  83. Eric E Durnan says:

    What kind of camera do you use for your webcam? What service do you stream it to the internet on? I’d like to do this for my bird feeders too.

    I’ve been feeding birds for about 6 years now. This is the first year that Starlings are checking my stuff out. My biggest problem has been European Sparrows up until now.

    I get about the same exact birds that you do. I live in NE Iowa.

  84. Mary says:

    Starlings are all over my tiled roof. They leave their droppings every where. I can hardly go out my back door safetly. Cleaning up after them several times a day.
    My builder but some sort of merging front of the open ends of titles put they pulled it away. I have a plastic cat on the roof but they are not fooled.

    Suggestions would be very welcome to help me get rid of this plague

    Thanks

  85. Jared says:

    I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a suet sandwich feeder. Google it 🙂 It helped ENORMOUSLY with my starling problem, and woodpeckers love it. I like to make my own suet snack (lard, peanut butter, cornmeal, etc) and stuff it inside.

    • Scott says:

      Hello Jared! I have never seen that before. Very cool and thanks for sharing. I probably wouldn’t have tried it and thought nothing would is it, but sounds like you have had no trouble with woodpeckers? I may have to experiment! thanks again.

  86. Mary says:

    I see Starlings in your tray feeders and feeding on the ground undering the hanging feeders, lots of them. The Starlings that have taken over my feeders and driven out my homie song birds, are eating all the foods they are supposedly not suppose to like, such as in she’ll peanuts, they demolished an entire tray like an atomic bomb hit it, and in shell sunflower seeds. Anything they can get their beaks on. They they hang around digesting and intimidating my local song birds even my huge Doves. They are the nastiest birds I’ve ever seen. And yes you have plenty of them too.

    • Scott says:

      Hey Mary. Yes, starlings are the worst. They drop their waste all over the place too. They have taken over my backyard lately too. I think I’m going to switch to all safflower until they decide to go bother someone else!!!

  87. Al Jacobs says:

    There are starlings everywhere in those feeders!

  88. Barb says:

    Thank you for the note about peanuts/ peanut suet then too, I would guess. Have you shared what you might add to the suet from the market? could I add just Safflower?I have an upside down feeder that now has 4 starlings feeding on it. It took a year for the first one to figure it out. However, in Central PA we have the large red-bellied woodpecker that is just slightly thinner and the Flickers (occasionally a Sapsucker) that are larger than a Starling. So I think the food is the only option. Thanks for your website,. Your thoughts?

    • Scott says:

      Hey Barb! My guess is that you could add safflower to suet and they probably wouldn’t enjoy it. Starlings don’t prefer plain suet either. Anything else you add, peanuts, corn, etc they will go crazy over!

  89. Rob Persichetti says:

    I’ve found that Starlings are one of the few birds that eat stink bugs, in the morning they come around the gutters and soffit to clean them out. I’ve been trying to find out which species of birds here (western PA) will eat stink bugs and Starlings are one of the few. I used to hate starlings but after seeing them eat stink bugs they’re my best buddies now. (I don’t like cow birds, they get other birds to raise their young)! My favorite birds are the chickadees, cardinals, and bluebirds, tanagers are awesome too.

    • Scott says:

      That’s an interesting observation about the stink bugs! I will certainly watch them more closely to see if that’s true as well here in Ohio. In addition to your favorite birds, I’m a big fan of Blue Jays. Thanks for the comment.

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