How to not feed a Starling?

Feeding starlings can be a real nuisance. But, there are ways to stop it! By understanding their behaviour and implementing clever strategies, you can keep these birds away. Let’s explore some methods of avoiding starling feeding.

Starlings can flock in large numbers and eat food meant for other birds. They can empty a bird feeder in minutes, leaving none for smaller species. To deal with this, it’s important to understand their feeding patterns and preferences.

A great way to deter starlings is to use special feeders designed to exclude large birds. These feeders have shorter perches or cages, allowing small birds access to the food, but not starlings.

Another option is to choose birdseed that starlings don’t like. Blends without millet, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds can stop starlings from coming. Suet cakes instead of loose seeds attract a wider range of species, and starlings don’t prefer open feeding stations.

My friend was successful in preventing starling invasions in her garden. She placed reflective objects near the bird feeders – like old CDs or aluminum foil strips. These shiny surfaces confused and scared the birds, and they stopped coming near the feeders.

Understanding Starlings

To understand starlings better and avoid unintentionally feeding them, delve into the characteristics of these birds and the problem of feeding them. A closer look at these sub-sections will provide you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the complexities of coexisting with starlings without inadvertently encouraging their presence in your surroundings.

Characteristics of Starlings

Starlings are one of a kind birds, known for their remarkable features. Their feathers boast a stunning iridescent sheen with a variety of vibrant colors, making them shine in the sunlight. Moreover, they are very social creatures, often forming large flocks of up to thousands of birds, which fly together in intricate patterns.

In addition, starlings have an incredible capacity for mimicry, being able to accurately replicate various sounds and even human speech. They possess a special syrinx structure, which allows them to produce a wide range of notes with precision.

Interestingly, starlings are considered an invasive species in some parts of the world. This is because in the 19th century, around 100 European Starlings were released in New York’s Central Park by Eugene Schieffelin. This American industrialist wanted to introduce all bird species mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays into North America. Consequently, their population has skyrocketed, causing worries for native birds and agricultural crops.

The Problem of Feeding Starlings

Starlings pose a major problem when it comes to feeding them. They have a huge appetite and often gather in large groups. This can be too much for any bird feeder enthusiast. The issue is their ability to quickly empty a food source and create a competition amongst the flock.

When trying to feed starlings, one must be ready for their aggressive nature. They will do anything to get food. They often fight with other birds, take over the feeding area, and even steal eggs from nests.

Moreover, starlings can change their feeding habits depending on the resources available. They can easily move from ground-feeding to feeder-hopping. This makes it hard for bird enthusiasts to keep up with them.

To manage the problem of feeding starlings, strategic measures must be taken. Using feeders that prevent starlings while still welcoming other birds can help keep the peace. It is also important to provide plenty of food during times of high demand, such as nesting and migration.

Why Not to Feed Starlings

To understand why not to feed starlings and prevent the negative impacts they bring, delve into the section discussing the topic. Explore the sub-sections on the harmful consequences of feeding starlings.

Negative Impacts of Feeding Starlings

Feeding starlings can be detrimental in several ways. These include:

  • 1. Disease spread: Starlings can transmit diseases to other birds, livestock, and even humans.
  • 2. Crop destruction: They are known to raid fruit crops, causing major losses for farmers.
  • 3. Displacing native species: Feeding starlings can lead to the displacement of native bird species, which disrupts the ecological balance.
  • 4. Loud calls: Starlings produce loud and persistent calls, which can be a nuisance in residential areas.
  • 5. Overcrowding: The large number of starlings attracted by feeding can result in overcrowding and damage to structures they nest on.

Furthermore, artificial feeding of starlings might attract other problematic bird species, intensifying the negative effects mentioned above.

It is essential to consider these details before deciding to feed starlings. One must take into account potential disease transmission, crop damage, competition with native species, noise pollution, and nesting problems caused by feeding starlings, to make informed choices that benefit both humans and the environment.

The National Audubon Society conducted a study that showed a decrease in populations of native bird species due to competition for resources when starlings were fed.

Ecological Disruption

Ecological Disruption comes when starlings are fed. It causes a rapid increase in their numbers, leading them to compete for resources with native birds. This can result in a decline in native bird populations.

Also, diseases can spread from starlings to both birds and humans. It’s wise to remember the destructive effects of upsetting the ecological balance.

For instance, the townspeople of a small town began feeding starlings, believing it would bring joy. But, native bird species soon became outnumbered, unable to keep up with the multiplying starling population. The town’s environment was changed forever, cautioning us to not disrupt ecology by feeding starlings.

Aggressive Behavior

Starlings’ Aggressive Behavior:

  • Causes conflicts: Starlings can cause disputes with other birds, leading to fights over territory and resources.
  • Reduces nesting success: Their hostility can harm native birds’ breeding, decreasing their chances of raising babies.
  • Affects biodiversity: Their aggression can reduce local bird diversity, affecting the environment.
  • Damages property: Starlings may attack structures and damage gardens, causing problems and money loss.

They can form huge flocks which can overpower other birds. These flocks can contain thousands of birds and overwhelm an area, pushing away small birds from their nests. This behavior is a big danger for the stability of local bird populations.

An ornithologist once saw a park renowned for its bird variety taken over by a starling colony. The starlings were attacking and pushing out all the little songbirds from their areas. This story is a reminder of how starlings’ aggressiveness can be detrimental for both resident and migrating bird species.

Health Risks

Feeding starlings may seem benign, but it can bring real health risks. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Disease spread: Starlings can carry illnesses, like avian influenza and salmonella. People can catch these via contact or from tainted surfaces.
  2. Allergies and respiration issues: Their droppings have allergens that can set off allergies and respiration issues. Prolonged contact may cause long-term ailments, like asthma.
  3. Damage to buildings: Big flocks of starlings can have droppings build up on structures and cause damage. The acidic droppings can erode the material over time, leading to costly repairs.

Preventive measures should be taken when dealing with starlings. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t feed them: By not feeding them, you will reduce their presence and its consequences. Take away food sources like open garbage cans and unsecured pet food.
  2. Lock up trash bins: Secure your garbage bin lids so that starlings cannot access them. This reduces their presence and decreases the risk of disease spread.
  3. Put up bird deterrents: Set up bird spikes and netting to stop starlings from nesting on your property. This prevents potential damage to infrastructure.

By being proactive and following these steps, you can protect your well-being and property while reducing the health risks of feeding starlings.

Tips for Not Feeding Starlings

To effectively prevent feeding starlings, utilize bird feeder modifications, explore alternatives to bird seed, and create a starling-unfriendly environment. These sub-sections provide solutions for the section “Tips for Not Feeding Starlings” in the article “How To Not Feed Starlings.”

Bird Feeder Modifications

Create a cage around the bird feeder with small openings. This helps small birds get to the food, but keeps starlings away.

Make the perches shorter or narrower so starlings can’t rest easily while eating.

Attach a cone-shaped guard above the feeder with the narrow end facing down. This makes it harder for starlings to land and eat.

Use safflower seeds instead of sunflower in the feeders. Starlings don’t like this type of seed as much.

Buy weight-activated feeders that close if heavier birds, such as starlings, land on them.

Set up noise deterrents near the feeders, such as wind chimes or sound-emitting devices, which startles starlings.

Place multiple small feeders instead of one large one. This makes it harder for starlings to take over all the feeders.

These modifications will help keep starlings away from your bird feeders. Enjoy seeing a variety of native birds in your yard!

Alternatives to Bird Seed

Bird enthusiasts are always looking for fun ways to attract different species to their gardens. Here are four creative, effective options:

  1. Fruit: Offer fresh or dried fruit like apples, berries, or raisins. This’ll bring birds like mockingbirds and orioles, plus add color to your garden.
  2. Insects: Give birds a protein-rich treat with live or dried mealworms. This can bring bluebirds and warblers, and help your outdoor space’s ecology.
  3. Nectar: Hang sugar water feeders during hummingbird season. This’ll bring joy with these vibrant visitors, and make your garden a welcoming haven for them.
  4. Suet: Put out suet cakes made from rendered fat. This can attract woodpeckers and nuthatches. Mix it with seeds, fruits, or insects for an extra-enticing blend.

To diversify further, try different types of fruit according to the season. This’ll cater to birds’ varied dietary needs. Don’t forget to provide water too! Put a birdbath nearby so birds can hydrate and bathe while eating.

Did you know? Some birds have specific feeding habits. For instance, thrashers use their curved bill to flip over leaves and find food (source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Now that you know these alternatives and unique insights into the avian world, get creative and enjoy a diverse array of winged visitors in your garden!

Creating Starling-Unfriendly Environment

Creating a Starling-Unfriendly Environment requires some strategies to deter starlings. Removing their food sources and making the habitat uncomfortable can stop them from nesting and feeding near you.

Take a look at this table:

Strategy Description
Remove bird feeders Starlings love grains and seeds from bird feeders. Taking these away minimizes food sources.
Cover garbage cans Secure lids on garbage cans so starlings can’t scavenge for meals.
Install bird netting Put fine mesh bird netting over gardens or fruit trees to stop starlings accessing fruit or vegetables.
Limit access to water Restrict access to open water sources like ponds or bird baths.
Use reflective objects Hang CDs or metallic tape near areas where starlings gather. The flashing lights and movement create an unsettling environment.

Also, reducing places for starlings to roost or nest will stop them from choosing your property. Here’s what you can do:

  • Trim trees: Cut branches that could be used as perches or nesting sites.
  • Seal openings: Block any openings in buildings or structures.
  • Noise deterrents: Use devices like ultrasonic speakers or motion-activated sound alarms that make unpleasant sounds.

By doing all this, you can disrupt conditions that are desirable to starlings. This will encourage them to find other locations that suit them better.


Be conscious of starling feeding habits and create effective strategies to stop them. Starlings are opportunistic and can cause major destruction when they find regular food sources.

Secure potential food sources like bins and bird feeders to prevent them from coming back. Use scare tactics like reflective tape or decoy predators to discourage starlings.

A great way to stop starlings from feeding is to use bird feeders that only allow smaller birds to access food. Clean up any birdseed spills or other attractants quickly.

Pro Tip: Plant native vegetation that provides food for native birds, but is not attractive to starlings. This assists in developing a balanced ecosystem and reduces the chance of attracting unwanted visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important not to feed starlings?

A: Starlings are invasive birds that can cause harm to native bird species and ecosystems. Feeding them can contribute to their population growth and disrupt the balance of local wildlife.

Q: How can I prevent starlings from coming to my backyard?

A: To deter starlings, avoid providing a food source they are attracted to, such as bird feeders containing suet or cracked corn. Use feeders with smaller openings to exclude starlings but allow smaller birds to access the food.

Q: Are there any natural ways to discourage starlings?

A: Yes, there are natural methods to deter starlings. Providing nesting boxes or houses specifically designed for other bird species, like bluebirds or swallows, can attract them instead of starlings. Planting thorny or prickly bushes around your property can also make it less desirable for starlings to settle.

Q: What should I do if I already have starlings in my yard?

A: If you already have starlings in your yard, it is best not to feed them and remove any potential food sources that may attract them. Additionally, make sure to secure any potential nesting sites, such as ventilation openings or gaps in buildings.

Q: Can I use scare tactics to keep starlings away?

A: Yes, scare tactics can be effective in deterring starlings. Utilize visual deterrents like reflective objects or predator decoys. You can also try using noisemakers or ultrasonic devices designed to repel birds.

Q: Are there any legal implications for feeding starlings?

A: The laws and regulations regarding feeding starlings may vary depending on your location. In some cases, feeding starlings may be prohibited due to their status as invasive species. It is recommended to check with local wildlife authorities or birdwatching organizations for guidance.

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.