Starlings, members of the family Sturnidae and introduced to the US in 1890, have become well acquainted with urban life in the states. Highly speckled, with a short tail and long, slender beak, starlings are highly aggressive and capable of driving away other birds in the area. Starlings will eat anything and are happy to co-exist with humans. Getting rid of starlings that drive away your colourful songbirds is no easy task, but several methods are available to control these pests and make them think twice about coming back.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Bird netting
- Bird spikes
- Bird squawker
- Bird balloons or scare flags
- Safflower seeds
Cover areas that starlings frequent, such as eves, dormers, balconies and porches, using bird netting. Bird netting is made of polyurethane twine that limits the starling's access. Cut the bird netting slightly larger than needed using a pair of scissors. Installation requires at least six additional inches on all sides for overlapping seams and perimeter fastening. Utilise overhead beams and pipes whenever possible, or the framework of the eve or dormer, when attaching bird netting. Fasten the bird netting to the framework using plastic mounting clips, spaced every six inches.
Set-up bird spikes in areas that starlings tend to perch, such as ledges and overhangs. Bird spikes are flexible, which means that it is possible to secure them to curved surfaces. Bird spikes do not harm the starlings they simply irritate their feet. Scrub the edge of the ledge with mild soap and water, using a scrub brush. Allow the ledge to air dry several hours. Squeeze the silicone fixative onto the bottom base of the spikes. The silicone will adhere the bird spikes to the ledge when you press down firmly.
Try a bird squawker. Bird squawkers are electronic devices that reproduce distress calls, predator calls and hunting sequences that startle and keep starlings at bay. Most bird squawkers have light sensors and remote speakers with volume controls. Mount the main control unit and speakers on any plane, using screws, nails, adhesive or wires. Mount the speakers in the immediate areas where the starlings are roosting.
Set up bird balloons or scare flags. These items feature large eyes that trick the starlings, making them think that the big eyes are watching them. Hang the balloons or flags anywhere that starlings become a nuisance.
Fill your songbird feeders with safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds. Your songbirds will enjoy it, but starlings detest it. In fact, after a week or so of only supplying the safflower seeds, the starlings will get discouraged and move on.
Tips and warnings
- Starlings are attracted to places that contain standing water. Empty buckets, birdbaths or containers that contain standing water, until the starlings decide to move on.
- Trapping and killing of starlings is not legal in some areas. Administer humane controls before resorting to drastic measures.
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