how to retrofit my gourds with starling resistant openings

Gourds are a popular choice for birds to nest in. But, starlings can be a problem. This article gives tips on how to change the gourds to make them starling-resistant.

Gourd lovers know that starlings can take over the nests. These birds can be hard to keep out. But, there are ways to stop them.

One way is to change the hole of the gourd. Starlings like large, round openings. But, if you make the entrance hole smaller, it will be harder for them to get in. Smaller birds, like purple martins and swallows, will still be able to get in though.

It is important to remember that each bird species needs a different sized opening. Purple martins need a larger opening of 2 ¼ inches. Bluebirds and tree swallows need a smaller opening, 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inches.

One gourd-lover, Laura, had a lot of trouble with starlings. So, she changed the entrance holes to make them smaller. She saw less starlings and more native birds!

By changing the openings of the gourds, you can keep out starlings and welcome desirable birds. Now is the time to protect our feathered friends!

Understanding the problem with starlings

Starlings can really mess up our gourds. They invade, displace other birds, and cause a disturbance in the ecosystem. These birds are very adaptive, so even if you’ve kept them away before, they may come up with new strategies to gain access.

I recently saw an example of this. A friend had made a gourd house for bluebirds. When they started raising their chicks, a few starlings showed up. Sadly, these starlings harassed the bluebird parents and drove them away from their own nest.

It was a sad sight. It reminded me of how starlings can disrupt not only individual bird families, but also the delicate ecosystem.

Benefits of retrofitting gourds with starling resistant openings

Retrofitting gourds with starling-resistant openings offers many perks. Such as:

  • Protection against starling invasion
  • Attracting desirable bird species
  • Promoting a healthier ecosystem

It also helps conserve the environment by discouraging the use of harmful pesticides. This way, it contributes to biodiversity in our surroundings.

Once upon a time, in a small town surrounded by stunning scenery, Emily the birdwatcher lived. She saw her beloved purple martin colony decline due to starling takeover. She was determined to protect them and retrofitted her gourds with starling-resistant openings. Miraculously, starlings were kept away and the purple martins returned. She was so delighted that she became an advocate for retrofitting gourds and shared her story with fellow bird lovers.

Materials needed for retrofitting

Upgrading your gourds to withstand starlings? Make sure you have these items handy:

  • 1. Starling-resistant entrances
  • 2. Gourd racks or poles
  • 3. Screws or brackets
  • 4. Drill and drill bits
  • 5. Safety equipment (goggles, gloves)

Also, take note that the dimensions and amount of materials may vary, depending on your gourd setup. Consider any special requests like color, design, or added security.

Don’t miss out on the chance to protect your birdhouses! Get the essentials now and create a safe environment for your feathered friends.

Step-by-step instructions for retrofitting gourds

  1. Assess the design.
  2. Check the gourd openings for starling intrusion.
  3. Look for large or easily accessible entrances that may need reinforcing.
  4. Choose a size that lets in the desired bird species, while discouraging starlings.
  5. Ask around for local birding resources or experts for help.
  6. Put a piece of strong hardware cloth, like galvanized steel, over the existing entrance hole.
  7. Securely fit it with no gaps or loose edges.
  8. To further stop starlings, make a short tunnel using PVC piping or similar materials.
  9. Monitor and maintain the gourds, and address any repairs quickly.
  10. Avoid perches near gourd openings.
  11. Place nesting material inside.
  12. Install predator guards around the mounting pole or tree branches.
  13. Take action now and safeguard your feathered friends!
  14. Create a haven that fosters diverse birdlife, and keep starlings away.
  15. Enjoy nature without worrying about intruders.

Additional tips for successful retrofitting

  1. Install entrances with a 1.5-inch diameter hole to make it harder for starlings to access.
  2. Put these entrances 5 to 6 feet above the ground to stop other predators.
  3. Protect entrances with predator guards or baffles to stop raccoons or snakes.
  4. Clean and maintain gourds, taking out any debris or nests.
  5. Plus, position gourds in open areas far from trees to stop squirrels from getting to them.


Let’s finish up with retrofitting your gourds with starling-resistant openings. This is a great way to keep those inside safe from starlings.

But, there’s more!

  1. Pick the right size for the openings – this will stop starlings from entering, but let smaller birds in.
  2. Plus, use entrance hole plates or guards for extra protection. These act as a barrier and keep starlings out. They won’t stop other birds from accessing the gourds.
  3. Also, install predator guards on the poles. This decreases the chance of predators getting to the entrances and harming the birds. There are different designs for different kinds of predators.
  4. Lastly, inspect and maintain your gourds. Look for signs of wear or damage from the weather. Do repairs or replacements quickly to keep starlings away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I retrofit my gourds with starling resistant openings?

A: Retrofitting your gourds with starling resistant openings helps prevent starlings from taking over the nesting cavities and evicting native bird species. It ensures that the gourds remain exclusive to the desired bird species.

Q: How do starling resistant openings work?

A: Starling resistant openings are designed with specific dimensions that allow smaller birds to enter while blocking starlings. The openings may have a crescent shape or be fitted with specialized entrance guards to keep starlings out.

Q: Can I retrofit my existing gourds or do I need to buy new ones?

A: In most cases, you can retrofit your existing gourds by modifying the entrances to make them starling resistant. However, if your gourds are old or not suitable for modification, it may be more practical to purchase new ones specifically designed with starling resistant openings.

Q: How can I retrofit my gourds with starling resistant openings?

A: Retrofitting gourds with starling resistant openings involves measuring the existing entrances, removing any old guards or inserts, and installing new starling resistant entrance guards or modifying the entrances using recommended dimensions. Detailed instructions and kits are available for purchase or you can consult with a birding expert for guidance.

Q: Are there any specific dimensions I need to follow for starling resistant openings?

A: Yes, there are recommended dimensions for starling resistant openings. For example, a crescent-shaped entrance should have a height of about 1.25 inches and a width of approximately 2.25 inches. However, it’s important to research and follow the specific dimensions that work best for the bird species you are targeting.

Q: Can retrofitting my gourds with starling resistant openings harm other bird species?

A: Properly designed starling resistant openings should not harm other bird species. The dimensions are chosen to accommodate the desired species while preventing larger birds like starlings from entering. It’s important to ensure the dimensions are appropriate for the specific species you want to attract while excluding unwanted species.

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.