How To Keep Starlings Out Of Blue Bird Boxes

How To Keep Starlings Out Of Blue Bird Boxes

Starlings can pose a significant threat to bluebirds, as they often compete for nesting sites and can even evict bluebirds from their own boxes. To ensure the survival and success of bluebirds, it is essential to take measures to keep starlings out of bluebird boxes. Here are some effective methods and tips to achieve that:

1. Size and Design of the Entrance Hole: Modifying the entrance hole size and design can prevent starlings from entering while still allowing bluebirds access.

2. Use of Sparrow Spookers: Sparrow spookers are devices that deter starlings and other unwanted birds from approaching the bluebird box, protecting it exclusively for the bluebirds.

3. Installing Nest Box Excluders: Nest box excluders are accessories that prevent starlings from entering or taking over the bluebird box, allowing only bluebirds to utilize it.

4. Place the Blue Bird Box in the Right Location: Proper placement of the bluebird box, such as away from dense vegetation or buildings, can make it less attractive to starlings.

There are other tips to discourage starlings, such as securing nearby food sources to reduce competition, and eliminating nesting material attractiveness, which starlings find appealing.

However, it is important to note that monitoring and maintenance of the bluebird boxes are crucial. Regularly checking for any signs of starling activity and taking immediate action will ensure the bluebird’s safety and increase the likelihood of successful nesting.

By following these methods, tips, and consistent monitoring, you can create a bluebird-friendly environment and effectively keep starlings out of bluebird boxes.”

Key takeaway:

  • Size and design of the entrance hole: Adjusting the size and design of the entrance hole can help prevent starlings from entering blue bird boxes, as they prefer larger openings.
  • Use of sparrow spookers: Installing sparrow spookers near blue bird boxes can deter starlings from approaching and nesting in them.
  • Installing nest box excluders: Nest box excluders can be used to prevent starlings from entering blue bird boxes while still allowing blue birds to access them.

Why Do Starlings Pose a Threat to Blue Birds?

Starlings pose a threat to blue birds due to their aggressive behavior and nesting habits. This is why starlings can be a problem for blue birds. These actions can result in competition for nesting sites, destruction of blue bird eggs or nests, and even harm to adult blue birds. Unlike blue birds, starlings are cavity nesters and will take over existing nest sites, including blue bird boxes. They are known to evict blue birds and destroy their eggs or chicks. Starlings often form large flocks, increasing the likelihood of overpowering blue birds in territorial disputes. The presence of starlings can also lead to the spread of diseases that can affect blue birds’ health and survival. That is why it is so important to take measures to deter starlings and protect blue birds’ nesting areas.

Methods to Keep Starlings Out of Blue Bird Boxes

Looking to protect your blue bird boxes from pesky starlings? We’ve got you covered! In this section, we’ll explore a variety of effective methods to keep starlings out of your beloved blue bird boxes. From optimizing the size and design of the entrance hole to utilizing sparrow spookers and nest box excluders, we’ll provide you with practical techniques to safeguard your blue birds‘ homes. Plus, we’ll share valuable tips on the ideal placement locations for your blue bird boxes. Say goodbye to unwanted feathered invaders!

1. Size and Design of the Entrance Hole

When it comes to keeping starlings out of bluebird boxes, the size and design of the entrance hole are paramount. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. The entrance hole should be specifically designed to accommodate the size of bluebirds while preventing larger birds like starlings from entering. It should have a diameter of 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), which is the ideal size for eastern bluebirds.
  2. To further deter starlings, incorporating a predator guard around the entrance hole is crucial. This could take the form of a metal plate or a cone-shaped baffle, effectively preventing other birds from perching or gaining access to the box.
  3. To ensure starlings cannot gain a foothold, it is vital to have a smooth entrance hole completely devoid of any rough edges.
  4. Consider utilizing a slanted or elongated entrance hole, as it significantly complicates starlings’ attempts to access the box. By employing a slanted or oval shape, bluebirds can easily enter while deterring starlings effectively.

In a remarkable account, a devoted bluebird enthusiast implemented these strategies to their bluebird boxes. By adhering to the recommended 1.5-inch diameter entrance holes and incorporating predator guards, they successfully dissuaded starlings while ensuring a secure and welcoming space for nesting eastern bluebirds. This simple modification not only safeguarded the bluebirds but also contributed to preserving native species and overall biodiversity in their vicinity.

2. Use of Sparrow Spookers

  • The use of sparrow spookers in bird conservation has a long history dating back several decades.
  • The idea behind using visual deterrents to keep unwanted bird species away from specific areas is based on the natural behavior of birds and their response to perceived threats.
  • Over the years, researchers and bird enthusiasts have experimented with different materials and designs to create effective sparrow spookers.
  • Today, the use of sparrow spookers has become a widely accepted and recommended approach in preventing the colonization of blue bird boxes by starlings.
  • It serves as an important tool in the conservation of blue birds and helps maintain the balance of ecosystems where they are present.

3. Installing Nest Box Excluders

When it comes to keeping starlings out of blue bird boxes, one effective solution is installing nest box excluders. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a nest box excluder that is specifically designed for preventing starlings from entering the box while allowing blue birds to access it.
  2. Carefully position the excluder over the entrance hole of the box, making sure it securely covers the hole.
  3. Attach the excluder to the box using screws or any other suitable method to ensure it remains in place.
  4. Regularly check the nest box to ensure the excluder is functioning properly and no starlings have found a way to bypass it.

A fact about starlings and blue bird boxes: Eastern bluebirds are cavity nesting birds that rely on suitable nest boxes to raise their young. By installing nest box excluders, we can help protect blue birds from competition and ensure their populations thrive.

4. Place the Blue Bird Box in the Right Location

When it comes to placing blue bird boxes in the right location, there are a few important steps to follow:

  1. Choose an open area: To place the Blue Bird Boxes in the right location, they should be placed in open areas with clear visibility. This allows the birds to easily spot any potential predators and provides them with a safe environment.
  2. Avoid human habitation: To place the Blue Bird Boxes in the right location, they should be placed away from areas with high human activity or human development. This reduces disturbance to the birds and increases the chances of successful nesting.
  3. Provide suitable perches: To place the Blue Bird Boxes in the right location, blue birds prefer to have perches near their nest boxes. Place the boxes near small trees or shrubs that provide perching spots for the birds.
  4. Consider the height: To place the Blue Bird Boxes in the right location, they should be placed at a height of 4 to 6 feet above the ground. This height provides protection from predators while still being easily accessible for monitoring and maintenance.
  5. Positioning: To place the Blue Bird Boxes in the right location, face the opening of the blue bird box away from prevailing winds, which helps to protect the nest from the elements. Ideally, the entrance should be facing away from direct sunlight to prevent overheating.

By following these steps, you can ensure that the blue bird boxes are in the right location to attract and provide a suitable habitat for blue birds while minimizing the risk of predation or disturbance. Remember to regularly monitor and maintain the boxes to ensure their proper functioning.

Other Tips to Discourage Starlings

Looking for more ways to keep those pesky starlings away from your beloved blue bird boxes? Well, you’re in luck! In this section, we’ll dive into some other effective tips that you can use to discourage starlings from invading your birdhouses. From securing nearby food sources to eliminating nesting material attractiveness, we’ve got you covered with practical strategies to maintain a starling-free zone. So, let’s get right into it and reclaim those blue bird boxes for their intended residents!

1. Secure Nearby Food Sources

  1. To secure nearby food sources and discourage starlings from invading blue bird boxes, limit bird feeders or feeding stations in close proximity to the blue bird boxes. Starlings are attracted to easy food sources, so reducing the availability of bird feed can help deter them.

  2. Avoid using cheap bird feed that contains large amounts of small seeds or fillers. This can make the feeders more attractive to starlings.

  3. Instead, opt for food that is less appealing to starlings but still attracts native birds like shelled peanuts or sunflower kernels. This will ensure a reliable food source for desirable bird species.

  4. If you have fruit trees or berry bushes in your yard, it’s important to harvest the fruits promptly. Fallen or rotting fruit can attract starlings and other unwanted birds.

  5. Keep trash cans securely closed to prevent starlings from feeding on human food waste and scraps.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine had a problem with starlings invading their blue bird boxes. They noticed that the starlings were attracted to the bird feeders nearby. After implementing these measures, they observed a significant decrease in starling activity around the boxes, allowing the blue birds to thrive undisturbed.

2. Eliminate Nesting Material Attractiveness

To eliminate nesting material attractiveness and prevent starlings from taking over blue bird boxes, you should consider the following steps:

  1. Remove any loose or excess nesting materials from the vicinity of the blue bird boxes to discourage starlings. Starlings are attracted to materials like grass, leaves, and feathers that they can use for their own nests.
  2. Maintain cleanliness in the area surrounding the blue bird boxes by regularly cleaning up debris or trash that may attract starlings.
  3. Trim any thick shrubs or vegetation near the blue bird boxes. By reducing the available hiding spots, you can discourage starlings from nesting in those areas.
  4. Utilize nest boxes with smaller entrance hole sizes specifically designed to deter starlings. This way, blue birds can still access the box while preventing starlings from entering.
  5. Refrain from offering bird feed that is attractive to starlings, such as cracked corn or cheap bird feed mixes. Instead, choose bird food preferred by native birds like sunflower kernels or shelled peanuts.

The Importance of Monitoring and Maintenance

Monitoring and maintenance are of utmost importance when it comes to preventing starlings from nesting in blue bird boxes. It is crucial to regularly monitor these boxes to detect any signs of starling activity and promptly take action to deter them. This involves removing any nests or eggs that may have been laid by starlings. Additionally, regular maintenance is essential to ensure that the boxes remain in good condition and suitable for blue birds. This entails checking for any damage, repairing or replacing worn-out parts, and cleaning the boxes thoroughly to prevent the spread of diseases.

To ensure the effectiveness of monitoring and maintenance, it is advisable to conduct regular weekly inspections throughout the nesting season. This will enable early identification of any issues and enable appropriate measures to be taken to address them. It is also vital to maintain detailed records of observations and actions taken, allowing the tracking of the success of these efforts. Providing alternative nesting locations for starlings away from blue bird boxes can also help discourage their use.

The significance of monitoring and maintenance cannot be overstated when it comes to keeping starlings out of blue bird boxes. By remaining vigilant and taking proactive steps, a safe and suitable environment can be created for blue birds to thrive.

Some Facts About How To Keep Starlings Out Of Blue Bird Boxes:

  • ✅ Starlings are aggressive birds that often take over blue bird boxes and drive away native species. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Restricting the size of entrance holes in blue bird boxes can help deter starlings while allowing smaller cavity-nesting species access. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ House Sparrows and European Starlings, both invasive species, pose a threat to global biodiversity by outcompeting native birds and destroying their nests and eggs. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Moving blue bird boxes to areas without these aggressive birds, such as away from human habitation or agricultural areas with abundant grain, can help deter starlings from breeding in them. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Offering foods in bird feeders that starlings do not prefer, such as safflower for Northern Cardinals or nyjer seeds for finches, can help attract other bird species while deterring starlings. (Source: Our Team)

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep starlings out of my bluebird houses?

To keep starlings out of your bluebird houses, you can implement several strategies:

  • Choose a bluebird house design that is starling resistant, such as a PVC-style bluebird house like the “Gilbertson” nest box.
  • Set up the bluebird house in an open area away from houses and barns, as starlings are often found near human habitation or domestic locations.
  • Offer foods in your bird feeders that starlings don’t enjoy, such as invertebrates, fruits, grains, and small seeds.
  • Scare away starlings from your bluebird houses by using active deterrents, such as a nest box monitor or installing predator guards on the entrance.

What is the best type of bluebird house to deter starlings?

A PVC-style bluebird house, such as the “Gilbertson” nest box, is recommended to deter starlings. The design of these nest boxes makes it difficult for starlings to access and invade the occupied nest site. They are also less likely to chew through the plastic pipe material, unlike traditional wooden bluebird houses.

Can starlings fit through the entrance holes of bluebird houses?

Starlings have a slender beak, making it difficult for them to eat thick outer shells. However, they can fit through entrance holes larger than 1 1/2 inches. To deter starlings from entering bluebird houses, it is essential to use entrance holes smaller than this size.

What are the pros and cons of using a PVC-style bluebird house?

The pros of using a PVC-style bluebird house include its durability, as it is less likely to be damaged by weather or pests. It also provides a slimmer entry hole, deterring starlings and other larger birds. However, a potential con is that it may not have the same aesthetic appeal as traditional wooden bluebird houses.

Are starlings protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

No, starlings (scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris) are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States. However, it is still illegal to harm or harass any native species, including their nests and eggs.

Is it possible to completely prevent starlings from entering bluebird houses?

While it is challenging to completely prevent starlings from entering bluebird houses, implementing multiple strategies together can greatly reduce their presence. This includes using starling-resistant nest boxes, offering foods that starlings don’t prefer, and using active deterrents to scare them away. It is important to remain persistent and regularly monitor the nest boxes to address any persistent problems.

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.