How to Get Rid of Starlings at Feeders

Updated April 17, 2017

Starlings are dark-coloured iridescent birds with speckled feathers. These birds are ubiquitous and inhabit a variety of habitats including cities, farms, woodlands and pastures. Starlings are considered pest birds as they are noisy and aggressive, and compete with other birds for bird feed. They quickly deplete food supplies and may prevent smaller birds that you are aiming to attract from approaching your birdfeeders. Discourage starlings from frequenting your feeders by combining a variety of repellent and elimination techniques. (See Resources.)

Replace other bird feed in your feeders with safflower seeds. Starlings dislike safflower seeds, which are enjoyed by other birds such as cardinals, wrens, finches, songbirds, chickadees, woodpeckers and jays. The safflower seed feed will discourage starlings from frequenting the feeders.

Place black-oil sunflower seeds in your feeder and discontinue suet, peanuts, millet and mixed seed feed. Unlike other birds, starlings have difficulty breaking open this variety of sunflower seeds, and will avoid the feeder.

Position suet and other bird feed in a feeder or container that has a small opening at the bottom, necessitating that the birds feed from it by clinging upside down. Birds such as woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches can easily feed in this manner, but starlings are unable to do so.

Purchase a small, roofed, satellite-shaped domed feeder. Domed feeders are adjustable, enabling you to increase or decrease the height to allow only small birds entry and prevent larger birds like starlings from accessing the bird feed.

Use tube feeders, as they have a small perch without a catch basin, which prevents larger birds like starlings from perching. You can also place wire mesh around the tube feeder to further reinforce it and prevent starlings from entering. Smaller birds such as finches and songbirds can reach the feeding ports through the wire.


Modify existing feeders by reducing the size of the perch, as starlings cannot properly land on a small perch. Make the perch smaller by sawing it away, or remove the perch completely.


Eliminate platform ground feeders, or cover these feeders with chicken wire to keep starlings out and allow smaller birds in.

Things You'll Need

  • Safflower seeds
  • Black-oil sunflower seeds
  • Tube feeder
  • Domed feeder
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