How to rid your yard of blackbirds or starlings

Updated February 21, 2017

Starlings are an invasive species that can chase away native birds. The term blackbird may refer to a number of medium-sized black birds that include common grackles, rusty blackbirds and Brewer's blackbirds, among others. These birds may all be pest birds that steal seed from your feeders, keeping the native birds away, destroying your garden and leaving a mess of dropping and shed feathers.

Replace your bird feeders with finch socks. A finch sock holds the seed in a fine mesh, which allows smaller birds to pluck seeds from between the openings in the mesh. The mesh is too fine for the starlings and blackbirds to get their beaks into.

Sweep any loose birdseed off of the ground. Loose birdseed encourages the blackbirds and starlings to hang around, driving off other birds.

Choose birdseed that does not contain milo, which is also known as organic corn sorghum, as it seems to attract only blackbirds. Similarly, avoid birdseed mixes that include millet and cracked corn, for the same reason.

Choose birdseed mixes that contain safflower seeds. Safflower seeds are attractive to a number of wild birds, but they are not as interesting to blackbirds and starlings.

Install suet feeders that are meant to be hung so that the bird has to access them upside down. Woodpeckers can easily manage this feat, while their competitors, the starlings, cannot.


While European starlings are invasive, blackbirds are federally protected by United States law under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They may not be killed unless they are actively damaging property or wildlife.

Things You'll Need

  • Finch sock
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Birdseed mixes
  • Upside-down suet feeder
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