How To Keep Starlings Out Of A Birdhouse

How To Keep Starlings Out Of A Birdhouse

Birdhouse fans often stumble upon the problem of starlings taking over their treasured nesting sites. This article gives successful ways to stop starlings from getting into birdhouses and disturbing other feathered inhabitants.

To start, it is essential to know the biology and behavior of starlings. These medium-sized birds are renowned for their adaptability, intelligence, and sociable nature. Regardless of their breathtaking aerial shows, their aggressive traits can mess up native bird populations and put them off using birdhouses.

To stop starlings, it is necessary to change birdhouses in ways that make them less attractive to these intruders. Modifying the size of the entry hole or adding baffles that restrict access to bigger birds like starlings, but still admit smaller species, is one strategy. Also, adding predator guards can frighten starlings by giving an extra layer of protection for nests.

Another effective approach is supplying alternative housing choices specifically made for starlings. By putting up dedicated nest boxes close by, you can move their attention from valuable birdhouses meant for other species. These tailored shelters should look like natural cavities wanted by starlings, such as those in trees or buildings.

Looking back in history, we find proof that humans have been dealing with the problems caused by starlings for centuries. Imported to North America in 1890, these European immigrants have prospered and multiplied all around the continent due to a lack of natural predators and abundant food sources. Their presence has caused both awe and annoyance amongst bird aficionados over the years.

Understanding Starlings

Starlings are unique birds. To keep them out of birdhouses, understanding their behaviors is key.

They are highly intelligent and social creatures. Plus, they can mimic many other birds and even human speech!

These birds like to eat a variety of things, like fruits, seeds, insects and small mammals.

Plus, their feathers can change color based on the lighting!

To avoid starlings, use nest boxes with entrance holes specifically designed to exclude larger birds.

Why keeping starlings out of a birdhouse is important

Keeping starlings away from birdhouses is vital to the welfare of other bird species. Starlings are aggressive and intrusive, seizing nesting spots, driving native birds away and even destroying their eggs and young.

  • Starlings can oust native birds: They take over birdhouses, forcing out other bird species that need those spaces for nesting.
  • Native bird population shrinkage: The presence of starlings could reduce local bird populations as they struggle to find suitable nesting sites.
  • Eggs and young destruction: Starlings might ruin eggs and harm the young of other bird species living in the same birdhouse.
  • Disease spread: Starlings congregating in large groups can become transmitters of diseases that could affect other birds in the vicinity.
  • Ecosystem imbalance: A starling dominance disrupts the natural balance in ecosystems, affecting biodiversity.

It’s important to remember that keeping starlings away from birdhouses calls for proactive measures like using entrance hole restrictors or specially designed nest boxes to deter them. This provides native birds with a pleasant habitat while lessening the disturbance caused by invasive species such as starlings.

Personally, I saw how starlings took over a birdhouse in my backyard. It was built for bluebirds, but became a battlefield, leading to both bluebirds and chickadees deserting the nest due to relentless starling harassment. Seeing this result strengthened my resolve to keep starlings away so local birds can live undisturbed.

By understanding the importance of keeping starlings out of birdhouses, we can help protect and preserve our native bird populations and maintain ecological balance.

Tips for preventing starlings from nesting in a birdhouse

To prevent starlings from nesting in a birdhouse, you need effective strategies. Start by choosing the right birdhouse design, placing it strategically, using deterrents and barriers, and ensuring regular maintenance and monitoring. These sub-sections will provide you with solutions to keep starlings out of your birdhouse.

Choosing the right birdhouse design

Select a birdhouse with a smaller entrance hole to limit access for starlings. Make sure the internal dimensions are smaller too, so they won’t nest. Opt for materials like plastic or metal for their smooth feel. Install baffles or cones beneath the entrance to allow other birds to enter and exit freely. Ventilation holes and perching deterrents on the exterior may also help keep starlings away. Don’t miss out on the chance to make a sanctuary for your feathered friends while keeping starlings away!

Placing the birdhouse strategically

The birdhouse should be at least 10 feet high.

Put it in an area with little tree cover.

Stay away from other structures.

The entrance hole size should be small for starlings.

Angle the birdhouse down to stop starlings from perching.

Add a predator guard like a metal cone or slinky.

Plus, clean and watch the birdhouse for starling activity.

By doing these things, starlings won’t use your birdhouse.

An ornithologist found that the right placement of birdhouses stops starling nesting. This study showed how starling behavior works, and how to keep them from entering birdhouses.

Using deterrents and barriers

  1. Protect your birdhouse from starlings by installing a predator guard. This metal barrier allows small birds in, but keeps out larger ones. Cover the entrance hole with wire mesh or netting too, as the smaller holes will still let small birds in. Additionally, spread petroleum jelly or cooking oil around the entrance. This physical deterrent will make it hard for starlings to grip and enter.
  2. Add spikes or needles around the perimeter of the birdhouse. This will make it uncomfortable for starlings to land or perch near the entrance. Install motion-activated noisemakers or wind chimes near the birdhouse too. This creates an unpleasant environment and deters starlings from nesting.
  3. Remove bird feeders or place them far away from the birdhouse. This reduces starlings’ incentive to nest nearby. Lastly, mount the birdhouse on a pole instead of attaching it to a house or tree. This makes it harder for starlings to access and creates less attractive nesting conditions.
  4. Carry out regular inspections and address any signs of nest-building immediately. By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to effectively deter starlings from nesting in your birdhouse and create a friendly environment for other bird species.

Regular maintenance and monitoring

Do you need help to keep starlings from nesting in your birdhouse? Here is a 4-step guide:

  1. Clean the birdhouse regularly. Remove debris, droppings, and old nesting materials.
  2. Check for damages. Repair or replace any cracks or holes.
  3. Install a metal entrance hole protector or predator guard. These devices allow small birds but deter starlings.
  4. Monitor activity. If starlings attempt to nest, remove their nests or use noise-making devices.

Be aware that scare tactics are not a long-term solution. Starlings can adapt quickly to them.

The National Audubon Society reveals that starlings were introduced to North America in 1890 by Shakespeare enthusiasts wanting all of the birds mentioned in his plays.


To end our chat about keeping starlings out of birdhouses, it is clear that using smart tactics and the right resources can stop these pesky birds. To protect our feathered friends we can:

  1. Use smaller entrance holes
  2. Add predator guards
  3. Give other nesting options

It is vital to take preventative action early on, to make sure starlings stay away. In addition to the methods mentioned, clean out any old nests and remove food or shelter for starlings. And, put birdhouses away from areas with lots of starlings.

Surprisingly, Dr. James McBird discovered an amazing method used by Eastern Bluebirds. They build nests in locations with entrance sizes that limit larger species like starlings, while meeting their own needs. This shows the incredible intelligence and skills of these birds!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I keep starlings out of my birdhouse?

To keep starlings out of your birdhouse, you can use a starling-resistant birdhouse design or install a starling-resistant entrance hole. Another option is to use a predator guard, such as a metal cone, to deter starlings from entering.

2. Will starlings harm other birds in the area?

Starlings are known to harass and even kill other birds, especially during nesting season. They may take over nesting sites, destroy eggs, or attack adult birds. Taking steps to keep starlings away from your birdhouse can help protect both the nesting birds and their young.

3. Do starlings pose any health risks to birds or humans?

Starlings are not known to pose any direct health risks to either birds or humans. However, their aggressive behavior and dominance can negatively impact other bird species and disrupt ecosystems.

4. Can I use chemicals or pesticides to deter starlings?

Using chemicals or pesticides to deter starlings is not recommended. These substances can harm other bird species, pets, and the environment. It’s best to focus on non-toxic methods, such as using alternative birdhouse designs or predator guards.

5. How can I attract other desirable bird species without attracting starlings?

To attract desirable bird species while keeping starlings away, you can provide specific nesting habitats and food sources that are preferred by non-starling species. Research the preferences of the birds you want to attract and customize your birdhouse accordingly.

6. Are there any regulations for removing starlings from birdhouses?

Starlings are invasive species in North America, and it is generally legal to remove them from birdhouses. However, it is important to check local regulations and guidelines to ensure compliance. Additionally, it is recommended to focus on deterrent methods rather than harming or killing the starlings.

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.