How To Get Rid Of Starlings At Bird Feeder

How To Get Rid Of Starlings At Bird Feeder

Starlings at bird feeders can be a challenge for bird lovers. Understanding why starlings gather at bird feeders and the impact they can have is crucial in finding effective solutions.

Starlings gather at bird feeders for several reasons. Two primary factors are food availability and the safety and shelter provided by the feeders. Starlings are attracted to the abundant food sources found at feeders, which makes them a popular gathering spot for these birds. feeders offer protection from predators and environmental elements, making them an appealing location for starlings to roost and eat.

Understanding the factors that draw starlings to bird feeders is essential in addressing the issue effectively.

While starlings bring their charm and beauty, their presence at bird feeders can have negative consequences.

Starlings can outcompete other birds at the feeders, leaving little to no food for smaller, native species. This can disrupt the natural balance and biodiversity of local bird populations.

Starlings are known to exhibit aggressive behaviors towards other birds, sometimes even driving them away from the feeders entirely. This aggression can create an unfavorable environment for other bird species, impacting their overall well-being.

Recognizing the impact of starlings at bird feeders highlights the need for effective strategies to address the issue.

To discourage starling gatherings at bird feeders, various methods can be employed. Here are some commonly recommended approaches:

  • Physical deterrents like anti-starling cages or nets can be installed around the feeders to prevent starlings from accessing the food while allowing smaller birds to feed freely.
  • Modifying the bird feeder design can make it less accessible to starlings. For instance, using feeders with smaller openings or perches that accommodate smaller birds but restrict access for larger starlings.
  • Altering feeding habits by offering specific types of food that starlings dislike can discourage them from frequenting the feeders. Avoiding food items like suet and certain seed mixes preferred by starlings can be helpful.
  • Creating an environment that attracts native birds and their predators, such as installing birdhouses or providing natural food sources like native plants, can help deter starlings from dominating the feeders.
  • In some cases, where starlings are invasive species or protected by local regulations, seeking permits or guidance from local wildlife authorities can be necessary to address the issue in a responsible and legal manner.

By implementing these methods, it is possible to reduce starling gatherings at bird feeders and create a more balanced ecosystem for a diverse range of bird species to enjoy.

While attempting to get rid of starlings at bird feeders, it is important to avoid common mistakes. These include using harmful or illegal methods, only focusing on exclusion without enhancing the habitat for native birds, and failing to consistently apply deterrent strategies.

By staying informed and employing effective and ethical techniques, bird enthusiasts can create a conducive environment for a variety of bird species to thrive while minimizing the impact of starlings on bird feeders.

Key takeaway:

  • Using physical deterrents can help get rid of starlings at bird feeders: Placing barriers or devices that discourage starlings from accessing the bird feeders can effectively reduce their presence and allow other birds to feed.
  • Modifying the bird feeder can discourage starlings: By adjusting the design or adding features that restrict access to larger birds like starlings, it becomes challenging for them to access the food, encouraging them to move on.
  • Changing feeding habits can deter starlings: Altering the type or placement of the bird feeder can make it less attractive to starlings, encouraging them to search for food elsewhere.

Why Do Starlings Gather at Bird Feeders?

Ever wondered why starlings flock to bird feeders?

Let’s unravel the mystery in this section. We’ll uncover the reasons behind their gathering, exploring the availability of food and the factors of safety and shelter. Prepare to discover fascinating insights and gain a deeper understanding of these captivating bird behaviors. So, why do starlings gather at bird feeders? Let’s delve into the reasons and find out!

1. Food Availability

In terms of food availability, starlings at bird feeders can have a significant impact. They are known to consume large quantities of different types of bird food, including seeds, suet, and insects. This can result in a decrease in food availability for other bird species at the feeders.

To illustrate this issue, consider the following table:

Type of Bird Food Amount Consumed by Starlings Impact on Food Availability
Seeds Significant Reduces the amount of seeds available for other birds
Suet Large quantities Can deplete suet blocks quickly, leaving little for other species
Insects Consumes large numbers Other insect-eating birds may struggle to find enough food

It is important to address this issue of food availability when dealing with starlings at bird feeders. By taking measures to prevent starlings from dominating the feeders, such as using physical deterrents or modifying the bird feeder design, other bird species will have a better chance at accessing the available food resources.

Changing feeding habits by offering a variety of foods or using feeders specifically designed to discourage starlings can help alleviate the competition for food. Attracting other birds and predators to the area can also help in reducing the dominance of starlings.

By considering the impact of starlings on food availability and implementing appropriate strategies, it is possible to create a more diverse and balanced feeding environment for birds at feeders.

2. Safety and Shelter

  • For starlings, bird feeders provide a sense of safety and shelter.
  • They gather at bird feeders because it offers them protection from predators.
  • Starlings feel safer when they are in a group, so they tend to flock to bird feeders where other starlings are present.
  • The structure of bird feeders also provides a physical barrier that can deter predators from reaching them.
  • Bird feeders are often positioned in areas with vegetation and trees, which offer natural cover and places to hide.
  • These factors create an environment where starlings can eat without constantly worrying about being attacked.
  • Bird feeders not only serve as a convenient food source for starlings but also offer them safety and shelter.
  • Starlings instinctively gather at bird feeders because it provides them with a protective haven from predators.
  • Being social creatures, starlings feel more secure when they join other starlings at bird feeders.
  • The design of bird feeders includes a physical barrier that effectively deters predators from approaching.
  • Strategically positioned in areas with vegetation and trees, bird feeders provide natural cover and hiding spots.
  • This combination of factors creates an environment where starlings can feed without constant fear of attacks.

The Impact of Starlings at Bird Feeders

Starlings at bird feeders can have a significant impact on the feeding dynamics and behavior of other birds. In this section, we’ll uncover the consequences of starlings’ presence and explore two key aspects: competition for food and aggression towards other birds. Discover how these factors shape the bird feeder ecosystem, as we delve into the intricate interactions that occur at the feeding site. Get ready to unravel the hidden effects of starlings and their influence on the feathered community.

1. Competition for Food

  • There is often fierce competition for food among starlings at bird feeders.
  • Starlings have a voracious appetite and can consume large quantities of bird seed.
  • They are known to dominate bird feeders and exclude other birds.
  • The competition for food becomes more intense when bird seed is limited.
  • In situations where there is not enough food available, starlings may become aggressive towards other birds.
  • This aggression can result in other birds being unable to access the bird feeder.
  • The presence of starlings can discourage smaller birds from using the feeder.
  • While starlings are a natural part of the ecosystem, their dominance at bird feeders can disrupt the balance.
  • To reduce competition for food, it is important to provide sufficient bird seed for all bird species.
  • Using multiple feeders or larger feeders can also help distribute the food more evenly.
  • Consider using feeders with designs that deter starlings while allowing other birds to feed.
  • Regularly cleaning the bird feeders and removing spilled seed can also discourage starlings from monopolizing the food source.

2. Aggression Towards Other Birds

When it comes to the aggression of starlings towards other birds at bird feeders, there are a few important points to consider:

  • Competition for food: Starlings are known for their aggression when defending their food source. They often chase away smaller birds, such as sparrows or finches, to have exclusive access to the food. As a result, other birds may be unable to feed at the feeder.
  • Territory disputes: Starlings, as highly territorial birds, aggressively defend their chosen feeding spots. They may physically attack other birds that come too close to their desired area, creating a hostile environment for other species.
  • Bullying behavior: Starlings sometimes engage in bullying behaviors towards other birds. This can include pecking, harassing, or even injuring smaller birds.
  • Effect on bird populations: The aggression of starlings at bird feeders can have a negative impact on other bird populations. Birds that are unable to access the food due to starling aggression may suffer from malnutrition or be forced to find alternative food sources.

It’s important for birdwatchers and bird enthusiasts to be aware of these aggressive behaviors and take steps to mitigate the impact on other bird species. Implementing measures such as using physical deterrents, modifying the bird feeder design, changing feeding habits, and attracting other birds and predators can help create a more harmonious feeding environment for all bird species.

Methods to Get Rid of Starlings at Bird Feeders

Tired of starlings invading your bird feeder? Discover effective methods to keep these pesky birds at bay. From using physical deterrents to modifying your bird feeder, we’ll explore a range of strategies to reclaim your feeder for other birds. Say goodbye to starling dominance as we also delve into changing feeding habits and attracting other birds and predators. Your feathered friends will thank you for creating a more welcoming feeding environment.

1. Use Physical Deterrents

When dealing with starlings at bird feeders, incorporating physical deterrents can be an effective method to naturally discourage their presence. Here are some steps to consider:

1. Utilize a starling-specific feeder: Incorporate a feeder with access limitations to prevent larger birds like starlings from reaching the food. These feeders may include weight-sensitive perches or smaller feeding ports.

2. Implement anti-starling cages: Surround your bird feeder with an anti-starling cage, consisting of small openings that only allow smaller birds access to the food. This will successfully prevent starlings from monopolizing the feeder.

3. Place reflective objects near the feeder: Hang shiny objects like CDs or reflective tape around the feeder. The movement and shine of these objects can naturally intimidate starlings and effectively discourage them from approaching.

4. Incorporate sound deterrents: Install devices that emit distress calls or predator sounds near the feeder. These noises can effectively scare away starlings and make them think twice before approaching.

True story: A friend of mine had a persistent problem with starlings invading their bird feeders. They tried incorporating anti-starling cages and using reflective objects, but the starlings were still able to access the food. They decided to incorporate a sound deterrent and installed a device that emitted the distress call of a predator. Within a few days, the starlings stopped visiting the feeders, allowing smaller birds to return and naturally enjoy their rightful share of the food.

2. Modify the Bird Feeder

Modifying the bird feeder is a great way to deter starlings and promote a more bird-friendly environment. Here are some simple steps to consider in order to achieve this:

  • 1. Adjust the feeding ports: Reduce the size of the feeding ports or use weight-activated mechanisms that close when heavier birds, like starlings, land on them. By doing so, starlings will be prevented from accessing the food, while allowing smaller birds to freely feed.
  • 2. Install mesh cages: Surround the bird feeder with wire mesh cages that have small openings only suitable for smaller birds. This will effectively prevent starlings from reaching the food inside.
  • 3. Add baffles or domes: Attach baffles or domes above or below the bird feeder to discourage starlings. These devices create obstacles that pose difficulties for starlings, making it hard for them to access the food.
  • 4. Opt for specific feeders: Choose bird feeders specifically designed to discourage starlings, such as tube feeders with short perches or weight-activated mechanisms.
  • 5. Offer selective food: Use feeders that dispense food types preferred by smaller birds, like nyjer (thistle) seeds, rather than sunflower seeds or suet, which starlings tend to favor.

By modifying the bird feeder according to these steps, you can create an inviting space for smaller birds to enjoy their meals while also discouraging starlings from dominating the feeding area.

3. Change Feeding Habits

To deter starlings from bird feeders, one effective method is to change feeding habits. Here’s a list of steps to consider:

  • Variety of food: Offer a variety of bird food that starlings may not prefer, such as safflower seeds or nyjer seeds.
  • Suet feeders: Use suet feeders that are specifically designed to be less accessible to starlings, such as ones with smaller openings or cages.
  • Specialized feeders: Install bird feeders that are designed to accommodate smaller bird species, with perches or feeding ports that are too small for starlings to use.
  • Timing: Adjust the timing of when you fill your feeders. Starlings are more likely to visit feeders early in the morning, so filling feeders later in the day can reduce starling activity.

Pro-tip: Regularly cleaning your bird feeders can also help discourage starlings. They are attracted to dirty feeders that have a buildup of old food or droppings. Keeping your feeders clean and free from debris can help reduce starling interest.

4. Attract Other Birds and Predators

  • Plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers that attract a variety of bird species, including predators that can deter starlings.
  • Install birdhouses or nesting boxes designed specifically for bird species that prey on starlings, like bluebirds or American kestrels.
  • Place bird feeders offering different types of bird food, such as suet or nyjer seeds, which are more enticing to other bird species and less appealing to starlings.
  • Provide water sources, such as birdbaths or small ponds, as many bird species are drawn to water. These water sources may also attract predatory birds searching for prey.
  • Avoid using open tray-style bird feeders or feeders with large perches, as these designs are easily accessible to starlings. Instead, opt for feeders with smaller openings that restrict access for larger birds.
  • Plant thorny bushes or install prickly bird feeder guards to make it challenging for starlings to reach feeders while allowing smaller bird species to feed undisturbed.
  • Regularly remove any food waste or spilled birdseed to discourage starlings from finding a consistent food source in your yard.
  • Install bird scare devices or visual deterrents, such as reflective tape or hanging shiny objects, which can create an inhospitable environment for starlings without affecting other bird species.

Seek Local Regulations and Permits


When dealing with starlings at your bird feeder, it’s essential to seek local regulations and permits in order to ensure you are following the proper guidelines and laws. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Research local regulations: Look into any specific regulations or restrictions regarding bird feeders and nuisance birds in your area. This might involve contacting your local wildlife or conservation department.
  2. Contact your local municipality: Reach out to your city or town officials to inquire about any permits or licenses that may be required for bird control measures.
  3. Apply for permits: If permits are necessary, follow the designated process to apply for and obtain them. This may involve submitting an application, providing necessary documentation, and paying any applicable fees.
  4. Comply with regulations: Once you have obtained the necessary permits, ensure that you adhere to all the regulations and guidelines outlined. This may include using specific bird deterrents or following certain feeding schedules.
  5. Maintain updated permits: Keep track of the expiration dates of any permits or licenses you have obtained and renew them as needed to ensure ongoing compliance.

Following these steps will help you navigate the local regulations and permits required for addressing starlings at your bird feeder.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when using bird feeders with large openings: This is a common mistake that allows starlings to access the bird feeder easily. Opt for feeders with smaller openings that only allow smaller birds to access the food.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when using low-quality feeders: Cheap and flimsy feeders can be easily broken by starlings, allowing them to access the food. Invest in sturdy and durable feeders that are designed to withstand the strength of starlings.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when using birdseed that starlings love: Starlings are attracted to certain types of birdseed, such as sunflower seeds and millet. Avoid using these seeds in your bird feeder to discourage starlings from visiting.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when not providing alternative food sources: Starlings are opportunistic eaters and will look for other food sources if they can’t access the bird feeder. Provide alternative sources of food, such as suet or mealworms, to divert their attention.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when not using deterrents: Failing to use visual or auditory deterrents can make your bird feeder more appealing to starlings. Hang reflective objects or use noise-making devices near the feeder to discourage starlings from coming near.
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid when ignoring proper maintenance: Neglecting to clean the bird feeder regularly can lead to the accumulation of leftover food, attracting starlings. Clean the feeder frequently to remove any food debris and prevent starlings from being enticed.

Some Facts About How To Get Rid Of Starlings At Bird Feeder:

  • ✅ Starlings are disliked and considered a nuisance due to their invasion in large flocks and their interference with backyard bird feeders. (Source:
  • ✅ To get rid of starlings, there are several methods that can be employed such as using starling-proof bird feeders or cage feeders. (Source:
  • ✅ Upside-down feeders can be effective for deterring starlings and grackles from accessing suet cakes. (Source:
  • ✅ Removing nesting options for starlings, such as using birdhouses with entrance holes no larger than 1.5 inches, can prevent them from nesting. (Source:
  • ✅ Additional tips for getting rid of starlings include installing deterrents on the roof and closing small holes that could serve as entry points. (Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get rid of starlings at my bird feeder?

To get rid of starlings at your bird feeder, you can employ several methods. One option is to use starling-proof bird feeders that prevent starlings from accessing the feeder while still allowing other feeder birds like cardinals and blue jays to feed. Another option is to use upside-down feeders, as starlings do not like to hang upside down. You can also employ seasonal tactics, such as using caged tube feeders in the summer to disinterest starlings. Removing nesting options and offering food that starlings do not prefer can also help deter them.

What are some common tactics to deter starlings at bird feeders?

Common tactics to deter starlings at bird feeders include removing their food sources by using in-shell peanuts, sunflower seeds, or safflower seeds that starlings do not like. Decreasing nesting spots by pruning trees regularly and using bird deterrents can also be effective. Closing small holes that could serve as entry points and installing deterrents on the roof are additional steps you can take. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to call a professional wildlife removal specialist.

How do starlings disrupt residents?

Starlings can disrupt residents with their loud shrieks. These invasive and aggressive birds can create a nuisance in yards and pose a disturbance to people living in the area. Their presence often scares away other native birds from bird feeders, causing frustration for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

What are the safety considerations when dealing with starlings at bird feeders?

When dealing with starlings at bird feeders, it is important to consider safety precautions. Starlings can transmit pathogens, so it is recommended to wear protective gloves and wash hands thoroughly when working around their nesting sites. Additionally, improper placement of nests can pose a fire hazard, so it is crucial to address the problem as soon as possible and take measures to prevent damage to your house.

What are some temporary solutions to drive away starlings from bird feeders?

If you are looking for temporary solutions to drive away starlings from bird feeders, you can try using cage feeders that have openings too small for starlings but allow access for smaller feeder birds such as cardinals. Another option is to use squirrel buster feeders that close off the feeding holes when heavier birds like starlings land on them. These solutions can help deter starlings without completely excluding other birds from accessing the feeders.

How can I better understand starlings and their behaviors before I begin deterring them at bird feeders?

Before you begin deterring starlings at bird feeders, it is important to have a better understanding of their nesting habits, behaviors, and food sources. This will help you implement effective strategies and choose suitable deterrents. You can refer to reliable sources or consult with professionals to gather information about starlings and their tendencies to make informed decisions.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.