How To Prevent Starlings From Using Your Bird Feeder

How To Prevent Starlings From Using Your Bird Feeder

Starlings can be a real nuisance when it comes to bird feeders. To stop them from taking over, try being creative and knowledgeable. These birds can bully other species and eat all the food quickly. Here are some ideas to keep starlings away.

  1. Change the type of feeder. Starlings love platform feeders, but a tube feeder with small perches will be too hard for them to cling onto and steal seeds. Use adjustable perches that only accommodate smaller birds, like finches or sparrows.
  2. Offer selective foods. Sunflower hearts and nyjer seeds are adored by many bird species, but starlings don’t really like them. Adding them to your feeder can help keep starlings away.
  3. Physical barriers can also work. Put wire mesh around your feeder. Make sure smaller birds can still enter, but make it tough for larger birds like starlings. Alternatively, hang the feeder inside a cage with holes just big enough for the desired birds.

In the late 19th century, people introduced starling populations to North America. They wanted to have familiar wildlife from Europe. Unfortunately, starlings multiplied quickly and displaced native bird species. They also monopolized resources such as nesting sites and food sources.

Understanding the Behavior of Starlings

Starlings can be fascinating to observe, with their unique and complex behaviors. But they can also become a nuisance by dominating our bird feeders. To prevent this, we must gain a deeper understanding of their behavior.

Starlings are social birds that usually form large flocks. They have adaptive feeding techniques, and can imitate other bird sounds. They prefer open areas with insects and berries. Plus, they have synchronized flocking behaviors that produce mesmerizing aerial displays.

But if starlings take over your bird feeder, here’s what to do:

  • Get a feeder with small openings for smaller birds.
  • Install baffles or cages around the feeder.
  • Synchronize feeding times with other bird enthusiasts.
  • Provide alternative food sources like suet or fruit feeders.

By understanding starling behavior, you can find solutions that discourage them while still welcoming other birds.

Assessing the Impact of Starlings on Bird Feeders

Starlings can be a nuisance! Let’s explore their impacts on bird feeders.

  • Feeder Consumption: Starlings eat a lot of food, leaving less for other birds. This can disrupt the ecosystem.
  • Feeder Damage: They peck or dislodge feeding ports. This reduces effectiveness and may incur additional costs for owners.
  • Intimidation: Starlings can be aggressive, driving away other birds. This can disrupt natural feeding patterns.
  • Hygiene Concerns: Starlings carry diseases that can harm other birds. They increase the risk of disease transmission.
  • Noise Pollution: Their chirping can create noise pollution that disturbs humans and nearby wildlife.

Interesting Fact: Starlings were introduced to North America in the late 1800s. This was due to a group wishing to bring all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Unintended consequences included ecological disruptions and conflicts with native species.

Choosing the Right Bird Feeder Design to Deter Starlings

Choosing the ideal bird feeder design is important to stop starlings from using it. Here are some points to think about:

  • Choose tube or mesh feeders with tiny perches, as starlings have trouble getting in.
  • Stay away from tray or platform feeders, they give starlings easy access.
  • Try adjustable perches, they can obstruct bigger birds’ access to the feeding ports.
  • Buy weight-activated feeders that close off food when heavier birds like starlings land on them.
  • Use baffles or cages around feeders to keep starlings away from the food.
  • Position feeders away from trees or structures where starlings usually nest.

It’s essential to remember that choosing the right bird feeder is just one step in solving the problem. Using multiple deterrents, such as noise devices, may also help reduce starling activity and safeguard smaller birds.

Choosing the proper bird feeder design is essential, but taking into account other factors like placement and additional deterrents may greatly enhance your anti-starling strategy. This will protect your backyard friends and make a great avian ecosystem.

Don’t let starlings control your bird feeder! Take action now by selecting a suitable feeder design and using other preventive measures. Enjoy watching an array of beautiful feathered visitors while making sure they are safe. Don’t miss this great opportunity to make a haven for songbirds in your yard!

Placing the Bird Feeder Strategically

To keep starlings away from your bird feeder, placement is essential. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Choose an open spot with no nearby perches for starlings.
  2. Hang the feeder at least 10 feet from trees or buildings, as starlings like these areas.
  3. Use deterrents such as wire cages to limit larger birds’ access.
  4. Place the feeder near thorny bushes or prickly vines.
  5. Put the feeder in a quiet area with little human activity.

Following these tips will stop starlings from coming near your feeder. This will let smaller birds have their meal without disturbance. Understanding starlings’ preferences and behaviors lets you strategically place your bird feeder to keep starlings away and attract other desirable species.

Using Squirrel Baffles and Domes to Prevent Access

Squirrel baffles and domes are great for keeping starlings away from your bird feeder. Baffles are cylindrical or conical, and can be mounted above or below the feeder. They have high effectiveness. Domes create a shield around the feeder, providing moderate effectiveness. For even more security, use both together. When installing, make sure they are secured properly.

Here’s a table with the effectiveness of each device:

Device Type Effectiveness
Squirrel Baffles High
Squirrel Domes Moderate

Implementing Physical Barriers for Starling Exclusion

Preventing starlings from using your bird feeder? Implement physical barriers! These obstacles will prevent starlings and give other species a chance to enjoy the feeder.

The table shows different types of barriers, their description, and effectiveness:

Type of Barrier Description Effectiveness
Cone-shaped Baffle Hangs above the feeder High effectiveness in excluding starlings
Cage-style Barrier Surrounds the feeder Allows smaller birds access but blocks larger ones, like starlings
Slinky or Tanglefoot Attach to the pole supporting the feeder Low effectiveness but still discourages starlings

Also, changing feeding patterns & using specialized feeders can reduce access for starlings. A combination of these strategies will minimize starling usage of your feeder. So, start implementing physical barriers today and create an inviting environment for other birds! Don’t miss out on the joy of diversity in your backyard!

Using Deterrents and Scare Tactics

Choose a bird feeder design that starlings cannot access – look for small perches or narrow openings. Put up physical deterrents such as netting or cages to keep starlings away, but still allow other birds to feed. Hang reflective objects like old CDs or streamers to scare starlings away. Install a motion-activated device like a sprinkler or ultrasonic repeller to startle starlings, teaching them to stay away. To further discourage starlings, feed in the morning instead of the evening.

An interesting incident happened where a homeowner used life-size owl decoys to deter starlings – it worked! Try different methods and adapt them to your situation to establish a safe space for other birds and discourage starling presence.

Ensuring Proper Maintenance and Regular Cleaning

Stop starlings from invading your bird feeder! Here’s a simple guide to help you.

  1. Clean Frequently: Get rid of old food, seeds and debris every few days. This will put starlings off, and reduce their visits.
  2. Use Hot Water and Soap: Wash the feeder. Make sure all surfaces are properly cleaned. Then rinse and refill with fresh birdseed.
  3. Avoid Moisture: Look out for moisture around the feeder. Dampness will draw starlings. Consider putting a cover or rain guard over the feeder.
  4. Repair Damage: Inspect the feeder for any damage or wear and tear. Fix or replace damaged parts quickly, to stop starlings getting in.

To keep starlings away:

  • Remove old food often.
  • Clean with hot water and soap.
  • Prevent moisture.
  • Fix any damage.

Pro Tip: Provide food specifically for smaller birds. This will stop starlings using your main feeder, and keep harmony between different species in the yard.


Starlings can be a nuisance when they get to your bird feeder. But, with some preventive measures, they can be kept away. Firstly, use a bird feeder that is hard for starlings to access, e.g. tube feeders with small perches or mesh feeders with smaller holes. Secondly, place the feeder far from shrubs or trees where starlings usually perch. This will make it less likely for them to spot the feeder.

Anti-starling accessories like cage guards or sticky repellent devices can also be used. They create obstacles for the starlings and make it difficult for them to get to the feeder. And, finally, cleaning your bird feeder and the surrounding areas regularly will prevent leftover food and droppings, which may attract starlings.

It is worth noting that starlings were introduced to North America by Eugene Schieffelin in the late 19th century. (Source: Audubon Society)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I prevent starlings from using my bird feeder?

To prevent starlings from using your bird feeder, you can try using feeders with smaller openings or specialized feeders designed to discourage larger birds. You can also consider using seed types that are less appealing to starlings, such as Nyjer seed or safflower seed.

2. Will scare tactics work to keep starlings away?

Scare tactics can be effective in deterring starlings. You can install visual deterrents like reflective materials, wind chimes, or even fake predators like owl decoys near your bird feeder. Changing the location of the feeder periodically may also help to discourage starlings from becoming too comfortable.

3. Can I use barriers to prevent starlings from accessing my bird feeder?

Yes, using barriers is another effective method. You can install a cage or a starling-proof baffle around the feeder. These barriers will allow smaller birds to access the food while preventing larger birds, including starlings, from reaching the feeder.

4. Is it helpful to limit the amount of food in the feeder?

Limiting the amount of food in the feeder can discourage starlings. Starlings are known to be voracious eaters, so reducing the food supply may make your feeder less appealing to them. Additionally, cleaning the area around the feeder regularly will prevent seed accumulation, which can attract starlings.

5. What should I do if starlings keep persisting despite preventive measures?

If starlings continue to visit your bird feeder despite your efforts, you can try using squirrel-proof feeders. These feeders are designed with mechanisms that close the feeding ports when a heavier bird, like a starling, tries to access the food. Another option is to provide an alternative feeding station for starlings by placing a separate feeder with different food types away from your main feeder.

6. Are there any legal restrictions when dealing with starlings?

In some countries, starlings are considered invasive species and may be subject to legal restrictions. It is essential to check your local regulations before attempting to control starlings. Some areas may require permits or specific methods for dealing with these birds. It’s best to consult with local wildlife authorities or birding 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.