How to Eliminate Starlings From Buildings

Written by roberta l. redfern
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How to Eliminate Starlings From Buildings
The starling can be identified by its short tail that barely extends beyond its wings. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

When starlings were first introduced to North America in the late 19th century, they were praised as beautiful songbirds that would enhance the landscape. Since then, however, they have increased so much in numbers and procreate so prolifically by nesting virtually anywhere that they have been labelled as modern-day nuisances. Starlings have black bodies with purple and green feathers and fly in a V-shape. There most unique feature is a very short tail that barely extends beyond its wings when closed. Females lay four to seven eggs each time and can lay two broods every spring season, often within the cavity of a home or other building structure. The birds roost in trees in multitude, soil buildings and sidewalks, and spread disease. Because this is an ongoing problem nationwide, there are several methods of starling elimination to suit different people.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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    Repellents that prevent starlings from roosting on ledges or rafters are commonplace now and are a safe and lower-cost method of eliminating starlings. Purchase the product online. Apply the gel or paste on the ledge, rafter or other surface the birds are congregating on, and spread it with a brush. Birds will see the sticky substance and either refuse to land there, or land and become "uncomfortable" with the feel, never to return.

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    Scaring starlings away with a noisy device that mimics bird calls is another successful tactic. These devices include amp systems that emit sounds that agitate starlings into thinking there is danger and they gather their flocks and leave. These units can also be purchased online and are a bit pricier. Place the unit in a window or another weatherproof area within earshot of the birds and turn it on. Another effective sound repellent is the use of a .22-calibre gun loaded with bird shot or a product called "dust load." Shoot the gun directly over or into a flock of starlings to scare them to another location, however, make sure your community bylaws permit use of a firearm.

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    Bird deterrents, products that prevent a bird from landing on, or nesting in an area, are also available. These include netting, or products that spin, move or automatically shoot water at the birds. These products are also widely available online. Place the netting or other distraction unit over or in front of the area in which the birds land or have nested.

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    Live capture through funnel- or food-baited traps are also a method of bird removal if the birds are a year-round problem. Place the trap in an area away from any structures and prop it open with wires. Place feed or other food just outside the trap. Do this for four or five days to condition the birds to the location. Once the birds come to feed regularly, place the feed outside and inside the trap with a supply of water. When they're used to entering the unit, set the trap and put the feed only inside. Successfully captured birds should be set free from the traps in desolate areas miles from residences or farms.

Tips and warnings

  • Most experts recommend using more than one tactic at the same time to successfully deter starlings from returning to your location after they have been scared away or removed.
  • Starlings are not protected by law, so the use of avidices -- or bird poison -- is permitted. This method, however, is not recommended, because birds do not discriminate in its use, and you could end up killing a species protected by migratory bird laws.

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