4 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Starlings TODAY! (2024)

I try my best to prevent, repel, and deter starlings at my feeders.

stopping starlings at bird feeders

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! I will gladly send you all my starlings and let you pay for all the bird food they consume. 🙂


*Click here to skip directly to the 4 strategies that help stop starlings!*


 

Here are THREE reasons why I try to keep European Starlings 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 uncommon to witness them attacking and scaring away other species from my feeders.

Starlings travel in large flocks!

keep starlings away from bird feeders

  • 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. If starlings just came one at a time, I would enjoy them MUCH more.

Starlings are invasive to North America!

  • Did you know that starlings aren’t even supposed to be here? Back in 1890, 40 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 out-competing 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!

Just a warning before we begin: Even implementing the strategies listed below, starlings are extremely hard to prevent in your backyard! My best defense is using all of the tips together.

FOUR ways to stop European Starlings:


#1. Choose your food wisely.

A great way to keep starlings away from your bird feeders is to use foods they don’t enjoy eating. Let’s look at the body type of a European Starling. Specifically, take a closer look at their beak.

foods that repel starlings

The shape of a starling’s 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 small 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 starlings CAN’T RESIST:

  • Cracked corn: Starlings LOVE 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 beaks, 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 not consume it as fast.
  • Shelled Peanuts: As you will see below, peanuts still in the shell are great to use to prevent starlings.
  • Millet: Starlings love eating any sort of grain, including all types of millet.
  • Mealworms: Invertebrates make up a large portion of a starling’s 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 starlings don’t prefer is critical in your quest to prevent them. Small shifts in the foods I offer in my feeding station have made an enormous difference in keeping them away.

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

Here are FIVE foods that help deter starlings:

  • Food #1: Black-oil sunflower

types of bird seed - black-oil sunflower

View Price - Amazon | View Price - Chewy

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.

  • Food #2: Striped sunflower

birdseed types - striped sunflower

View Price - Amazon | View Price - Chewy

This type of sunflower seed has a much thicker shell than black-oil sunflower. Luckily, starlings have huge problems opening up the shell to get to the delicious seed inside.

  • Food #3: Safflower

safflower seed - best bird food

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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.

  • Food #4: Peanuts in the shell

whole peanuts in shell for bird food

View Price - Amazon

A starling’s wimpy beak can’t break through the hard exterior.

  • Food #5: Nyjer

different types of bird seed guide

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This small seed is too small for starlings to bother with.

And there you have it. 🙂 Being aware of the foods in my backyard is a central part of my starling prevention strategy.


#2. Use a starling-proof bird feeder.

This strategy is my favorite way to keep starlings away from bird feeders. If starlings can’t physically access your bird food, then they can’t eat! 🙂

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 types of feeders that prevent starlings:

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. I LOVE watching starlings grasp onto the outside of the cage and just look at the delicious food on the inside. 🙂

Audubon 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 favorite overall feeders in my backyard. And it’s also great at stopping squirrels. 🙂

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Let me be clear, a weight-sensitive feeder WON’T stop starlings like a caged feeder. The hope is that you will slow down an entire flock of starlings.

For example, on the Absolute II feeder above, I can make the perches incredibly sensitive to weight, where only one medium-sized bird (like a starling) can feed at a time. As soon as a second starling tries to hop on the perch, the feeder closes.

I love this feeder because only ONE (maybe two) starlings can eat at a time. It’s great because a whole flock of starlings can’t sit there and wipe all of your food out in a sitting.

Upside-down suet feeders:

I thoroughly enjoy feeding suet to woodpeckers in my backyard. The problem is that starlings also LOVE eating 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. It’s actually funny to watch the starlings try to eat the suet, as they hop up and down, but can only manage a bite at a time.

Lastly, just a warning that it may take some time for woodpeckers to discover your upside-down suet feeder. And overall, they definitely don’t like it as much as my other suet feeders.


#3. Discourage starlings from nesting in your backyard.

starling nest on house

Starlings LOVE building nests around humans. That’s because these birds are cavity nesters and prefer using vents and other small openings around your house to build nests and raise their young.

For example, 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 easy 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. Here are two options you can check out:

In addition, if you have any birdhouses or nest boxes in your yard, you must constantly monitor them for starlings!

get rid of starlings from nestboxes

As cavity nesters, starlings are naturally attracted to any nestbox in your backyard. To keep them away there are 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 birdhouses!


Tip #4: Distract starlings using lots of CHEAP food!

This is one of my favorite ways to control European Starlings, and it runs counter-intuitive to what you might think. We are going to feed them as much as they can eat, but we are going to decide WHERE it will happen!
Here is what you need to do:

Offer MASSIVE amounts of cracked corn positioned at least 15 feet away (4.5m) from your other bird feeders.

Starlings LOVE eating cracked corn (and other grains). And luckily, cracked corn is one of the cheapest bird foods you can purchase by weight.
Next, I fill a large bird feeder with cheap cracked corn. Then I hang this feeder away from my other feeders that have the more expensive food that I don’t want the starlings to eat. I also make sure to put plenty of food on the ground since starlings eat here too.

distracting starlings with other feeders

Learn more about the LIVE streaming cams in my backyard HERE!

I’m sorry if the above picture is hard to see, but I wanted to show my feeders filled with cracked corn placed behind and away from my other feeders.

This strategy has helped keep some of the starlings away from my main feeding station, which lets other birds enjoy the sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet in a bit of peace.


Final thoughts about preventing starlings:

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

  • Offer foods that starlings don’t eat.

  • Use starling-proof bird feeders.

  • Eliminate potential starling nest locations.

  • Distract starlings with a second feeding station.

If you have a big starling problem in your backyard, it may be best to combine strategies (that’s what I do)!

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

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181 Comments

  1. The starlings come in small numbers with a large flock of mixed brown headed cowbirds and blackbirds. My problem has been the mourning doves they eat every thing and with the cowbirds etal the cardinals bluebirds, blue jays, house finches, purple finches can hardly get a beak in. Oh, what about dried black fly larva, do most birds like them? (Including chickens)?

  2. Invasive blah blah invasive blah blah blah. I figured that word would be at the top of the article, but I’m glad you at least mentioned the pretentious idiots who thought so highly of themselves. But saying they are invasive after 130 years is silly. They are part of the ecosystem now, just like all the critters brought in from Asia by ship. Maybe we can eradicate the spotted lantern moth, but European starlings and house sparrows are here to stay. Where others couldn’t be bothered or would just let them die because they are invasive (there’s at least one aaahole on here a few posts down who actively kills them), I saved two starlings, one after spending two days trying to capture it so the threads wrapped between it’s two feet could be cut away. All birds welcome in my yard. It is what it is.

  3. Discouraging Starlings? Birds are attracted to my pollinator garden with native plants and water dishes, not with feeders.

    Four years ago, I started de-thatching the grass, and then removed it a year ago. Since annual de-thatching, Starlings show up once or twice a year, but only stay for a couple minutes. Then they don’t return during the season, even though I see them elsewhere in the neighbourhood. I think it’s because of de-thatching, which also reportedly discourages grubs, thus Starlings, too. Before the de-thatching Starlings did tend to be a nuisance.

    I also don’t use any chemicals in my garden other than garlic flakes and plants to deter the deer.

  4. I am curious. If starlings are native to Europe, are they a problem there too? What controls their populations in Europe?

  5. You are probably way too young to have celebrated New Year’s Eve the way I did. My parents would wake me up and we’d go the living room. When the clock struck midnight we banged pots and pans with wooden spoons. Then back to bed. I use this method to scare away starlings. If I have hundred(s) of them at my feeders I go out on my back deck and bang the bottom of a pan with a METAL utensil. They fly away right away. If they return, a second round really works.

  6. I had a single starling around for a season that co-existed w/out problems for other birds and was picked on by other starlings. The flock seemed to come and go so I changed to just sunflower seeds in the shell for a few days when they showed up and they left. I noticed starlings avoid crows. The crows chase off the starlings and ignore the other birds. The crows live year around in a large area here and make the rounds, so are not always in my yard.

  7. Thank you for sharing! Living in N. LA, I have so many cowbirds & a few starlings that I fight with keeping away from my feeders. They even figured out how to hang on to the small perch peg on my tube feeder. I’ve seen one lonely mourning dove trying to find some food on the ground, He even tried to eat at my cedar wood feeder but is too big to fit.
    I want to help him out but the other 2 invasive species get to it before he can if I put any on the ground.

  8. So that my other backyard birds can eat, I stay outside with them, talk & walk about. I also feed ‘my’ feathered friends no earlier than an hour before sunset. It seems they don’t hang around as much at this time, but gives all those I wish to feed plenty of time to clean up.

  9. Hi, do you have any advice on how to make them leave? They are dominating an area in the condominium where I live and everyday they take more m2, make a lot of noise and shit all over…they are even now in the electric cables

  10. Not a single thing that you recommended to get rid of starlings has worked. Giving them food in another location? Nope. They ate the corn AND the bird food. The love peanuts in the shell. They love everything I’ve been told they don’t like. They don’t even fly off at loud noises unless the noise is like fireworks – which is disrupting to my neighbors & myself since I would have to do this every five minutes for entire days in a row. I’ve removed all food for over a week but the first birds to return when I put the food back are the starlings. They’ve already scared off the cardinals and the little birds. The bluejays are dwindling. Even the crows are gone. Starlings can’t get into caged bird feeders but they swarm the ground beneath it to get the scraps and their presence scares all other birds away. Are there traps or poisons that are legal and effective to use? If not, it looks like my bird feeding oasis is shutting down.

    1. Miriam, I modified one of my bird houses (the size for a small duck) and installed a VAN ERT trap in it. The first thing in the spring, when the starlings find it, they readily go in and get caught. I use a net bag to open the house up to make sure it’s a starling and then “dispatch” said “thief”. I reset the trap (very easy) and wait for the next unfortunate avian to take a chance. For some reason they just quit coming around.

      1. I have had success with starling decoys purchased from Amazon 6 for 20 dollars. Reposition the wings and reattach with hot glue in the “DEATH” position and hang them around. I also purchased a starling distress cd from Pete Rickards for 17.50. It’s an unusual site and you will have to search around for the nuisance bird section. Many of these recordings are supposedly not specifically for starlings. This is from the 60’s or 70’s and is seems to be genuine. It works when I turn it on – but the other birds don’t seem to mind. Finally, I have a bb gun which, when I see a starling, I shoot it in their direction. Of course all the birds take off – but the welcome birds come back to the feeders quickly, and the starlings take some time. I have NO MORE FLOCKING,
        although a single or couple will come along and then I shoot my bb gun at them. It has taken about a week. I hope these suggestions help you.
        Best wishes. Susan from Kentucky

          1. Hi Dana,
            I already replied, but I don’t see my reply posted. Your question is not stupid: I found the term while searching the net for ‘decoys’. The starling decoys from Amazon has the wings in a flying position. I cut them in half and hot glued them to the side of the bird so it looks dead. Elmer’s glue doesn’t work due to the rough surface. I bought a hot gun from Walmart’s for $10.00. Hope this works for you.
            Best Wishes, Susan

  11. It’s easy to hear them coming, they are so raucous.I use the Aqua-Zook water gun and a water bucket near by to deter them. They catch on fast, and I seldom see them now.

  12. They are so raucous, they are easy to hear coming. I use a water gun called The Aqua-Zook that shoots about 30 to 40 feet. They hate it. So do the pigeons.

  13. Any ideas for keeping starlings away from mealworm feeders? I set them out for robins, baltimore orioles and bluebirds, but the starlings will clean them out. Thanks for all your great information!

    1. Unfortunately it also prevents the larger birds like the robins but I use an enclosure meal worm feeder so the bluebirds can get their fill. I purchased mine from Amazon.

    2. You can always hunt them, or let others hunt on your property. They’re invasive, they’re Exotic birds meaning it’s legal as long as you have a hunting license. You can also get some pretty feathers out of it.

  14. Hi Scott! I just found your wonderful site and am enjoying reading the articles (love the fun and amusing comments too!) and taking the quizzes. I thankfully am not having a Starling issue, but my Oregon friend just told me about hers, so I will be sharing your info and website with her. Thanks for sharing so many of your helpful observations with everyone!

  15. We seem to have smarter starlings.
    We put corn on the cob for sqirrels. The starlings pick up the loose corn and soak it in the birdbath before eating. Whatever the sqirrels leave loose, the starlings clean up to the last kernel.

  16. I live in Ontario, and have found, by mistake that the Starling and Blackbirds eat dry cat food. I buy small bags from the Dollar Store, and put a handful out every morning. By the afternoon it’s gone. The crows will sometimes still some too !!!

  17. Fantastic article Scott, you’ve really covered this ground thoroughly!
    Most of my feeders are positioned near a window. If I see starlings pigging out, I tap sharply on the window. They seem to be easily startled and it does seem to discourage them over time. Too bad I can’t automate this trick!

  18. I’m very proud of my MacGyver solution to the invasive European starlings mobbing the bird feeders outside my office window. (They bully native birds and eat everything in sight.) I put one of those remote-controlled fart-sound makers (the modern-day equivalent to the old whoopee cushion and undoubtedly popular with preteen boys) in a small Ziploc bag (to protect it from the elements) on the feeder pole. (This one from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002R9DQQ2). Now any time starlings land on my feeder pole, I have the immense pleasure of driving them away with fart sounds. I’ve been using it about a month now, with great success. I also follow the strategy of putting cracked corn some distance away from my main feeder pole (to lure them to eat elsewhere), as well as turning my suet feeder upside down, so only clinging birds like to use it. And then my local native birds can eat in peace.

  19. So you ration the seed in order to only allow enough for some of the starlings while starving all the native birds that can’t compete with them? Good way to help make native species extinct and it is actually a concern that non-selective feeding is increasing the decline of some species.

    In other countries including Europe where our most common destructive invasive species are from the amount of bird feeders is altering bird populations by supporting only the boldest or aggressive ones that eat from feeders. The species that have gone up are the ones that dominate bird feeders if allowed to, while the woodland and shy species that visit feeders less or get chased away easily have at best remained the same and for some only declined further. More investigation is needed for all factors but there is increasing proof that providing bird food with no selectivity as to what can eat it is a contributor to some species heading toward threatened or even endangered status. For now feeding both the invasive species and native species has not had as much of an obvious negative impact in the larger, less densely populated US but the pandemic saw a large increase in people feeding birds and other wildlife around their home. Feeding wildlife without trying to exclude invasive or aggressive species from using the entire resource is likely to start creating the same negative effects on the ecosystem and species with already low populations as is being seen in some other parts of the world.

    At the moment no one is certain what to do about it except encourage providing specialist feeders and nesting sites for a greater variety of species.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bird-feeders-are-good-for-some-species-but-possibly-bad-for-others/

    This is a human created problem and requires human intervention to prevent.

    I don’t want to just give up and let the pair of downy woodpeckers that relied on our feeders to keep their young alive last year die out. I watched the male hop around our deck railing in clear distress when he could not get past the sparrows for food, which is why we set up dedicated feeders for woodpeckers. The female joined him sometimes and eventually some juveniles appeared for awhile. The pair stayed all winter hoping the food wouldn’t stop appearing or get eaten by everything else. We’ve had birds sit at the window or even follow us around the yard chirping loudly that they couldn’t get enough food for themselves or their young. If I don’t keep the starlings and sparrows from eating all the food some of the others may lose their nestlings or die themselves if there is not enough wild food to support them. We are also replacing the lawn with native plants that provide food or shelter as well as fruit plants for ourselves and the wildlife.

    If you want to feed the starlings then like the article says try giving them a spot with their own food and put up other feeders they can’t eat from. It also allows you to feed higher quality, more expensive options to some birds that need it without the cost of also feeding it to birds that can survive on cheaper sources of food. We use various parts of the yard to provide different types of feeders with different seeds, nuts or suet. The woodpeckers and nuthatches always have high protein or mealworm containing suet only they can get to. Large sunflowers and peanuts can also only be eaten by those or some other native birds designed for cracking shells. The finch feeders don’t allow even sparrows so the house sparrows can’t eat all the finch food. I made up a ground feeding mix for the native sparrows like Juncos who generally eat from the forest floor and we get occasional doves. I scattered some daily when they were most commonly around and put a little cheap, small seed in a hanging hopper at the same time so the house sparrows would be distracted and not get much of the ground mix.

    With the native, less common, or shy species having a constant food supply we then have open trays and large hoppers with cracked corn, millet, small black sunflowers, dried cranberries, and suet containing fruit and small seeds over platforms and in fly through feeders with large openings so even birds that can’t sit on a suet cage can eat it. We can control how much is available when a large flock of starlings or non-native sparrows is around while still feeding unlimited amounts to many of the native or less common birds simply by buying different types of feeders or using different seeds and nuts in different locations. So far the starlings only appear briefly and then likely move on to other yards that do not make any attempt to keep them from eating everything and leaving nothing for the other birds. Our yard continues to have an increasing mix of many species.

    I also make sure the sizes of openings and design of the bird houses is very specific so there are some that provide a safe place for various native birds. The house sparrows that often kill the nestlings of other birds when they can get a few of their own nest boxes setup on the other side of the house.

    You don’t have to actively try to kill off the invasive or overpopulated species if you don’t want to and can even let them nest in your yard but if you do nothing to provide food or nesting locations that only the other species can access you may still be contributing to the death of birds. Many people don’t consider what unseen results their actions have and sometimes it’s impossible to determine by yourself. That’s why there are organizations that attempt to keep track of these things and provide information like this in the hope people will realize there are alternatives they can be happy with that helps support the species who need it and in some cases shows them that their actions may be doing more harm than they realize.

    Do you fertilize the weeds that grow in your flower bed until they smother all the flowers? By weeds I do mean the environmentally damaging plants and not the native wildflowers that sometimes get called weeds. Would you purposefully spread bindweed or kudzu so they climb up the trees or bushes and choke them to death? Since plants don’t move around you can watch them kill each other by simply having more of one existing and getting all the nutrition it needs to grow and spread while depriving the others near it. The same is true with wild animals even if you can’t as easily see it for yourself. At least give the rest of the birds an equal chance instead of letting them slowly disappear from your area.

  20. Like everyone on this site, I am an animal lover, and I don’t like the thought of harming any of my feathered friends, but with that being said, starlings wreak havoc in our backyards. I liken them to gang members. They come into an otherwise very peaceful and harmonious neighborhood scaring away all the other residents, ravaging the feeders, and then leave until you fill them up again. I have used many of the methods suggested on this site, but as others have pointed out, it will leave some of the birds unfed. I’m waiting for someone to devise an electrical remote controlled device to deliver a shock. Would include some sort of wires that are portable. Maybe a small net like structure that could be placed in a platform feeder under the seed, or a wire similar to the bird be gone electrical tape that could be placed on a deck rail or around a feeder with a remote control that can discharge an electrical shock from in your house. Being able to control it from in the house is key. It could then be used only when the starlings are on the wire, not the other birds. Seems they would eventually leave the area. Wished I personally knew an electrician!

  21. Take 2 pieces of lumber. 3/4” thick. About 4” wide and about 18” long. Slap them together and they scramble. They hate the noise. Other birds will return. You have to keep clacking and they eventually move on. It’s a daily battle. Put a small hinge on one end for convenience

  22. Hey Jeffrey, I have found that feeding strictly white safflower (not the golden saff) is the best way of getting rid of starlings if you can’t kill them. Wait to weeks while only feeding saff then slowly reintroduce regular feed starting with striped sunflower at a 10:1 ration until you are starling free and can resume regular feed. -JT

  23. I took a more aggressive approach and pick them off with a quality quiet air rifle. I set up point in my yard with a safe backstop as a courtesy to my neighbors. I had to take out my grey squirrels as well because they were damaging my roof to gain access to my attic. Since controlling the population of starlings and grey squirrels I get more visits from song birds in greater numbers and variety.

  24. Lisa, build a birdhouse (or several) fit for a bluebird (1-1/2 inch hole) and then install “Van Ert” traps in them (look them up and buy them online). You can catch multiple birds during a day, uninjured. You can determine which ones are starlings and “dispose” of them as you see fit. (It’s what I do…) Good luck.

  25. Well if you had seen them attack a baby bunny in my back yard, pecking his eye until he could no longer walk, he died, you might feel differently. Now they are dive bombing my deck because they know there is another baby and they want to kill it. Why? Because they are nasty aggressive birds that decide what territory they want. I hate these things and I’m all aboard the shooting them train but I’m in the suburbs. They also destroy crops! Oh and let’s not forget the fact that they carry nasty diseases and travel in packs pooping all over your yard. I’m really fed with them.

  26. I’m not sure what’s a Starling and what’s a Grakle. All I know is they are both large black birds and are voracious eaters.. I’ve been feeding”Black oil Sunflower seeds exclusively but since these pesky “Blackbirds” have found them I can’t keep them in my feeders. I know you say Starlings can’t crack blackpool Sunflower seeds but these birds have no trouble at all with them. They also seem to love the peanuts in the shells. I am sick of constantly buying and filling my feeders with food only to have these darned birds gorge on it. Any suggestions? We love our little Wrens, Cardinals, Dove and Bluebirds, including the Jays and their peanuts but we’re at our wits end with the “Blackbirds”. How do we keep feeding all our other guests but eliminate the Blackbirds from the guestlist? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  27. I’m finally fed up and started shooting them too, using a .177 air rifle. Using non-lead shot but also trying copper coated lead shot. This type of lead is not as bad as organic lead like from the old gasoline. The non-lead shot costs way too much $15 for 125 or something like that and I think it’s not as accurate. Still trying to figure all that out. Killed 4 so far. The other birds do not care at all. 3 seconds after killing the starling the other song bird already comes and starts eating. The starlings definitely understand what is going on, because they see the dead starling and immediately take off and any snap-like sound, they all take off while other birds don’t care. They are figuring out to stay away from those bird birdfeeders. I never shoot them in the grass or even if they are sitting on the pole of the feeder, only when they start getting at the food. They seem pretty smart for a bird. I think if I keep shooting them and others do too, I think natural selection will train them to stay away. They are already catching on to this, I’m telling you. There are no rules against killing them, you’re doing the government a favor by doing so. Had a female blue bird check out the dead starling for 20 seconds, then started eating bird food, I think she appreciated the sight. Btw. I don’t take any pleasure from this and I never hunted in my life and don’t kill anything but flies (and starlings). I’ll even take a spider outside and set it free there. I’m doing it for all the other birds, that’s why. Apparently starlings will kill other birds and take over their nest, plus they are very aggressive while all the other birds share and get long.

  28. I totally agree with Sue. “if they make you SO ANGRY that you spend your days looking to cruelly trap/kill them (and brag about it), you need to just stop feeding birds altogether. ” i dont like starlings eating everyhing either, so i ration the food amounts.

  29. What about your human neighbors…do you hate them too? if you only want to see certain birds, I suggest you buy some parakeets and cockatiels. Make a VERY LARGE pen in your living room and enjoy feeding them indoors. Close your curtains or blinds so you dont have to see anything in your yard. It is hatred like this that eventually expanded and has led to many mass murders of humans lately. I feel sorry for you.

  30. I totally agree. i happen not to drink or smoke so each week I put $$ in a jar for extra bird seed. I am low income, but I buy mealworms on walmart com. i make sure the starlings are full of suet and seed. About 5 pm they are pretty well gone from yard. then i put out my sunflower seed and moistened mealworms. That gives the blue jays cardinals and woodpeckers a chance to eat.

  31. i am 78. I remember my mother shaking a dish towel outside to scare away the starlings. One day my father told her, its wrong not to let them eat. God made ALL the birds and you are acting like they are worthless. He also made people different. Are you going to decide which of our neighbors eat tonight? After that she just put out extra seed. Some birds eat in the evening and she put out extra food after 5 pm.

    1. “God” also made roaches, ticks, black widows, flies, pneumonia bacteria, and the aids virus… I don’t want any of those. Your reasons for supporting an invasive species seems like shallow selfishness rather than ACTUALLY supporting the delicate balance of nature that “God” intended.

    2. First, God never intended European Starlings to exist outside of Europe. Second, it’s a big difference between an invasive species of bird and a human neighbor, whose eating habits I have no control over. Get a grip, lady.

  32. Scott – I have 2 questions related to this. I switched to in-shell peanuts and a caged feeder for my mixed seed; I’m also using safflower instead of sunflower seed. All 3 options are working great to minimize all types of blackbirds at my feeders, so thank you! However, I do feel like it has also reduced other types of birds for me, especially fewer nuthatches, chickadees, and even cardinals. Do you think these birds don’t like/can’t handle my new setup? Maybe I have to choose between blackbirds and these others? Second – this might sound silly – but now that I’m using in-shell peanuts, I find that I have to sort through all of the peanuts when I want to refill the feeder. At least 1/2 of them haven’t been touched so I put them back in, but this is extra work and little gross to have to pick through the half-eaten shells. Is there a better way to handle in-shell peanuts? Thank you!

  33. I had a rose breasted Grosbeak and an Oriole come to my feeder this morning. First time this year and within half an hour of each other. But Starlings scared them away. I need to get rid of them, or most of them before the other two leave for good. I will try all ideas listed

  34. This is a follow up to my April 4th post on here. In just the last two days I’ve “dispatched” two more of those bothersome parasites (starlings) and I’ve released one chickadee from my “Van Ert trap” house in the past week. Things are going swimmingly.

  35. I don’t have a problem with feeders, I have a pool with a cover and they come and bathe on the cover, starting droppings all over the place, if I take the cover off they drown, yesterday I scooped 2 dead ones out, how do I attract hawks? I need to get rid of these nuisance birds!!

  36. Hi Jess, dealing with starlings is very frustrating. The caged feeders you have to make sure the cage is big enough that they can’t reach the seed when sticking head through that is the only thing that works. I got mine at wild birds unlimited. 😁👍

  37. Sorry, we are in the Keys for the summer. You want a video of the contraption my husband put together with chip bag clips and washers? How can I upload a video?

  38. I bought a van ert trap and installed it in a modified wood duck house. I caught two starlings the first week it was placed outside. I’ve also put “snap traps” (meant for rats or chipmunks) near an area that starlings tend to try to build nests every year. So far, in 2022, I’ve “dispatched” 5 of the ugly poopers caught in those. It’s now been over a week since any more have tried to move into either place.

  39. I agree. I just bought a pellet gun too. Im using only non lead bullets so I can throw the vermin in the woods so a racoon, or raptor can get a meal. The birds are out of control and killing all our native songbirds. Im doing my part to get rid of as many as ai see.

  40. I bought a caged feeder specifically for bluebirds. The Erva feeder is rather expensive, but worth every penny! It keeps the starlings & Robins out & allows my bluebirds to safely eat. In the long run, it has really saved me the cost of expensive mealworms.

  41. You don’t need to be cruel but the starlings are starving out the native birds that need our help. Starlings are not suffering but the native birds are. I changed seed as recommended and the difference was fantastic. From 100’s of starlings and their buddies the blackbirds and brown headed cow birds I’ve gone down to a rare few. They come look around and leave. You don’t have to hurt them just don’t cater to them. Cowbirds BTW are parasitic like cuckoos.

  42. Sorry I didn’t respond. We were on vacation in Barbados. My husband and I would never use magnets on a bird feeder! Thats foolish and expensive. Don’t you have a husband who is handy/creative? Mine used a potato chip bag clip and some old nuts and bolts tied with string…lol. Now he clips them on the actual cage not to interfere with the perch which creative a double blessing.. when the heavy birds (Starlings) hold of the cage, the cage comes down AND the bolts/nuts make a noise and scares them away. We are retired and my husband wants to patent his idea…lol..keeps him busy.

  43. My weighted bird feed filled with black oil and stripped sunflower seeds does well to keep the starlings away. However, this year I only put out my peanut metal house feeder for the squirrels and blue jays. Those evil starlings dont eat peanuts, but they still invaded my peanut house by climbing into it, taking a peanut out throwing it to the ground to try to eat which they cant because of the shell. They bully the blue jays away which I found totally astonishing, I cant believe the blue jays let them. The starlings know they cant eat the peanuts but they still insist on flocking and taking over the peanut house, until the squirrels show up. I have used just the air from a bb gun to scare them off, but I cant be out there all day shooting air. Makes me not want to put the peanut feeder out ever again which is a bummer for me since I enjoy the squirrels and blue jays.

  44. Thank you! I wonder if I weight it for 3ish starlings if that would still allow my big red-headed and flicker woodpeckers to dine individually???? And, I’m switching to safflower and sunflowers!

  45. I have the same hopper feeder and actually increased the weight sensitivity by adding magnets to the perch. I would watch and keep adding magnets until the starling triggered the hopper to close. Any platform feeders have the grey-striped sunflower only. Everything else is weight-sensitive or caged.

  46. I’m with you! They eat everything within minutes of putting out mealworms for the family of bluebirds in my backyard. This morning they covered my entire roof. What a mess. I don’t want to hurt them. I just can’t afford to keep feeding them.

  47. I started feeding the little birds in the winter when we moved to Massachusetts last year. The Starlings flew in one day and decimated the feeders. We have weighted cage bird feeders and then one day my husband said we should add weight to the perch so the Starlings weight will close the cage. I wish I could upload a video because it worked!!! My husband kept clipping on a little more weight at a time until the Starling hung on the cage and the cage closed. The little birds are too light and I have seen 4 Chickadees at a time or two Cardinals without the cage closing. The Starlings come by from time to time but they are not rewarded with a treat.

  48. My best way to get rid of starlings is to ENJOY them. By enjoying them, you are liking them and are not going to think them up as pests. I never get angry at starlings and I let them eat at my feeders. By doing so, I am being justified and I am allowing them to have the liberty. If you try to block starlings, you are basically SEGREGATING them from the rest of the birds, and then they don’t get to enjoy food. But, I do make my feeders starling-tolerable. That ways, the starlings don’t accidentally tip or shake a small songbird off when trying to get a bite of food. I have a flock of starlings in my garden so that they eat the japanese beetles, to. I also have this heavy tray feeder to offer the squirrels food. I just leave this tray feeder mounted on th fence for the squirrels to get into and feed. Unlike you, I enjoy feeding ALL of earth’s animals (discluding pests like rats, groundhogs, mice, etc.).

    1. Thank you for contributing to the problem. Starlings are an invasive species and don’t even belong here. By feeding these voracious eaters, you contribute to their proliferation. Nice job.

  49. The glue trap idea is horrible and inhumane, for both mice and birds. These birds have been in the US since the 1890’s. There are probably billions of them by now–it’s pointless to keep calling them “invasive.” You can’t sent them back to Europe! And shooting/inhumanely trapping them is like drops of water in the ocean–it’s just not going to make a dent. They didn’t ask to be brought here; they are only trying to live.

    I dislike them as much as the next person, but as bird lovers we need to focus on WORK AROUNDS. Use caged or weight-sensitive feeders! Put out foods they don’t enjoy! Last year I was inundated with them, this year I’ve not seen one. Go figure.

    But for the love of Mother Nature, if they make you SO ANGRY that you spend your days looking to cruelly trap/kill them (and brag about it), you need to just stop feeding birds altogether. They are not going away at this point. If you don’t put food out, you don’t have to see them.

  50. We get occasional invasions of starlings and grackles. We also have a TON of sparrows, woodpeckers, mourning doves, blue jays, and other smaller tweeties. We see the starlings and we let our dog out. She has a field day barking at them. Our tweeties are used to her running around and barking and just keep on eating, but the starlings hate it. LOL. It only takes a few days before they get the hint and leave. Some times just slapping the glass on our sliders is enough too.

  51. Being an animal lover and animal rights activist i have to say im appalled by your answer. The idea is to keep them from feeding on your expensive feed not an all out war with assault weapons. They don’t know they are invasive. They are just trying to eat like everything else. Yes they can be a problem but i cannot imagine putting glue traps up! You will catch ALL birds. This post really saddened me.

  52. Glue traps are absolutely horrible and inhumane, invasive species or not. Even for rodents! I personally would never even take a risk of harming a songbird to capture one starling. I sincerely hope no one reads your post and attempts to use these traps.

  53. When these guys come in too big of a group, then both myself & my dog go outside & let the other birds eat.
    My backyard birds are used to me & my pup & most will feed while we are out.
    A few Robins come close & wait for a green grape treat & some Chick-a-dees will eat from my hand.
    I just keep chasing away the big flocks.
    I also put up only n upside down suet feeder. My downies & red-bellied woodpeckers have no problem using it.
    I also found that feeding later in the afternoon I’ll have less of a problem.

  54. No, it’s not cruel. It’s managing your yard to see the birds we want to see. I hate the damn things! I just started getting them and now I come home to an empty yard with no finches or chickadees and only ravaging starlings. I would shoot them if I could. Sorry/not sorry

  55. These tips are so cruel! Don’t do any of these tips! I just let them take over the feeders. Starlings are a type of bird. For me, I think that I should just feed all of mother nature’s good creatures. (I don’t feed pests like rats and groundhogs though, as they try to make my squirrels and birds sick and destroy my house!)

    1. So ….. you feed the starlings, an invasive species and a nuisance that drives away the native species, but consider rats and groundhogs pests (although they are also nature’s creatures)??

      Could you at least TRY to be consistent with your reasoning??

  56. I have the same problem. Gangs of starlings eat an entire block of suet in a single day. For a while, the cover kept them off. Once they defeated the cover, a smooth board kept them at bay. Now they can fly up and grasp the bars of the suet cage. They chase off the woodpeckers, bluebirds, and nuthatches that used to spend all week happily nibbling away at it. I’m at my wit’s end!

  57. 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.

  58. 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?

  59. 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 !

  60. 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

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!

  64. 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!

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. 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.

  70. 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. 😉

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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!!

  76. 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.

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

  78. 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?

  79. 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.

  80. 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

  81. 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.

  82. 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

    .

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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,

  86. 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.

  87. 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!

  88. 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!

  89. 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.

  90. 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!

  91. 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.

  92. 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

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

  94. 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.

  95. 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!!!!!!

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

  97. 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.

  98. 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..

  99. 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!

  100. 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.

  101. 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!

  102. 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?

  103. 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!

  104. 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!!!

  105. 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

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

    1. Learn the laws before you spout off. Several states allow the hunting of an invasive species without a license or permit. Go ahead and call the cops. I’ll wait with a smile while they educate you regarding the laws….and then reload.

  109. “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…

  110. 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

  111. 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 🙂

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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

  117. 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!!!

  118. 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!

    1. 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.

  119. 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.

  120. 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?

    1. 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!

  121. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  122. 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.

  123. 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

  124. 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.

    1. 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.

  125. 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.

    1. 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!!!

  126. 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?

    1. 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!

  127. 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.

    1. 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.