Starlings were introduced to North America by Eugene Schieffelin, a fan of English literature whose organisation, the "American Acclimatization Society," attempted to introduce every bird mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to the United States by releasing them in Central Park in the late 19th century. Starlings can be trouble for smaller, native birds, stealing houses and food meant for them. You can keep starlings away from your bird seed and keep your bird feeders friendly for small songbirds by setting up a variety of feeders that deter starlings and other larger birds.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Chicken wire or caged bird feeders
- Tube feeders
- Domed feeders
- Hopper feeders
- Upside-down suet feeders
- Safflower seed
- Ultrasonic bird repeller
Use chicken wire to build a cage around your feeders, or buy a caged bird feeder. The holes in the wire will prevent larger birds such as starlings from getting in, while allowing smaller birds access to the feeders.
Set up more tube feeders. Starlings have a hard time eating from tube feeders because the perches are meant for smaller birds. If they keep trying to eat from the tube feeders, you can shorten the perches even more so only small birds can comfortably sit on them.
Feeders with domed roofs are another way to exclude larger birds. Adjust the height of the roof so smaller birds can fit comfortably but starlings and other large birds cannot get in.
Use hopper feeders with weighted perches. This allows smaller, lighter birds to feed, but causes the feeder to close if heavier birds such as starlings, or other animals such as squirrels, try to eat from the feeder.
Suet is a big attraction for starlings, so you might want to stop putting it out entirely for a few days so the starlings get tired and find somewhere else to eat. You can also use an upside-down suet feeder, which deters starlings and other birds who dislike eating upside down.
Replace sunflower seeds, which starlings like, with safflower seeds. Starlings will not eat safflower seeds, but other birds, such as cardinals and finches, love them.
If none of these work, consider using an ultrasonic bird repeller, which emits high frequencies to ward off large birds such as starlings.
Tips and warnings
- If you can't get rid of starlings, maybe you can learn to love them. Buy a birdwatching book and learn to identify starlings and other blackbird species.
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