How To Stop Starlings Emptying Bird Feeders

How To Stop Starlings Emptying Bird Feeders

Bird feeders bring joy to any garden! But, starlings can be pesky when it comes to stealing the food. To outsmart them, pick feeders with adjustable trays or smaller openings. Caged feeders can also work; they have openings too small for starlings to pass through. Sarah, a bird enthusiast, found another way of deterring starlings. She placed reflective objects near the feeder, scaring them away and allowing other birds to eat their snack.

Understanding the behavior of starlings

The behavior of starlings can be hard to understand. Let’s explore and uncover some mysteries!

They are highly social, often flocking in large numbers. This is called a murmuration, with thousands of birds in mesmerizing formations.

Feeding can be difficult for bird feeders. Starlings have big appetites and can empty feeders quickly. They have an efficient food-finding instinct.

Adaptability is another behavior starlings have. They can imitate sounds, including human speech. This makes them popular songbirds, but also means they may mimic other birds.

Starlings can be territorial at feeding grounds. They’ll protect their food source, displaying aggressive behavior. Knowing this can help manage feeders better.

In North America, an interesting story is told of the European Starling. It was introduced in the 19th century, by a group aiming to bring all birds from Shakespeare’s works to the continent. This has resulted in one of the most successful species introductions ever!

Assess the bird feeder setup

Checking your bird feeder is a must if you don’t want starlings to empty it. Consider the following:

  1. Place it far from structures.
  2. Go for feeders with small perches and openings.
  3. Choose seeds starlings don’t like, such as safflower or nyjer.
  4. Use squirrel-proofing methods, like baffles or cages.

Also, make sure the feeders are not too close together. Different types of feeders can attract different birds.

In an interesting case, a bird lover found the solution to deterring starlings. They used an adjustable baffle on their feeder pole. This stopped the starlings from getting the food. As a result, smaller birds could enjoy it without interruption.

Implementing deterrents for starlings

To keep starlings away from bird feeders, it is important to employ special techniques. Try using squirrel-proof feeders with mechanisms that prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to the seed. Additionally, install caged feeders with smaller openings that only permit the smaller birds. Baffles, or cone-shaped devices, can also be placed above or below the feeder to create an obstacle. Furthermore, placing wind chimes or playing predator call recordings near the feeding area will startle starlings and keep them away. Lastly, applying non-toxic sprays on birdseed can make it unappealing to starlings.

Also, remember to keep the surroundings clear of food waste or fallen seeds. Cleaning feeders and replacing spoiled seed often is also a great way to ensure only the desirable birds visit. Deterrents for starlings are achieved by physical barriers or using aversive stimuli. By selecting the appropriate methods for your situation, you can protect your bird feeders and watch a variety of feathered visitors.

Alternative feeding options for starlings

Suet feeders? Starlings can’t hang on, they’re too big! So, smaller birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees can use them better.

Mesh or caged feeders have openings too small for starlings to get in.

Instead of cracked corn or milo, try sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, or nyjer.

Feed during times when starlings are less active, like early morning or late evening. That way, you can attract more diverse birds.

Experiment to find the best option for your bird feeders.

Monitoring and maintenance tips

Bird feeders can bring life to your backyard with a variety of beautiful birds. But, starlings can be a problem when they empty your feeders. To deter them, here are some tips:

  • Select a feeder with small openings or weight-sensitive perches. Starlings are larger birds and may not be able to access the food.
  • Install baffles or cages. These physical barriers will keep starlings away from the food.
  • Change the type of seed regularly. This will make the feeder less attractive to starlings.
  • Clean and sanitize. This will keep diseases or pests away and discourage starlings from visiting.

You can also put multiple smaller feeders instead of one large one. This way, starlings won’t be able to monopolize all the food sources.

A friend once used a suet feeder specifically designed to accommodate smaller songbirds while excluding starlings. This worked for him and he was able to attract a wider variety of birds to his backyard.

By applying these tips and adding some creativity, you can enjoy the beauty and melodies of diverse birds without starlings emptying the feeders.


We search for ways to stop starlings from eating bird feeders. We’ve tried many strategies and tactics – like special feeders and noise makers. These methods can help, but they’re not a sure thing.

Starlings are strong and persistent birds. They find ways to get food, even if we try to stop them. We must keep an eye on these methods and work out if they are working.

Some feeders are more successful at keeping starlings out. For example, certain feeders with weight-sensitive perches collapse when the starlings land on them. Also, using smaller mesh sizes on the feeding ports can stop the starlings while still letting other birds in.

A study by the RSPB says, starlings are smart and they adapt fast. Even if we chase them away, they can come up with new ways to get food. We have to stay up to date and find new solutions.

No foolproof method will stop starlings forever. But if we stay alert and learn from our successes and failures, we can reduce their impact on our bird feeders.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I prevent starlings from emptying my bird feeders?

Starlings can be quite aggressive and may dominate bird feeders, causing other birds to go hungry. To prevent starlings from emptying your feeders, try the following:

– Invest in selective bird feeders that are designed to keep out starlings. These feeders often have smaller openings or mechanisms that close off access to larger birds.

– Opt for feeders with adjustable weights or perches. Starlings are heavy birds, so a feeder that closes when a certain weight is applied can deter them.

– Place your feeders in locations that are less accessible to starlings. Try hanging them higher in trees or using poles with squirrel baffles.

2. Are there any specific types of bird feed that starlings dislike?

Starlings tend to prefer suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds, so avoid using these types of feed if you’re trying to deter them. Instead, opt for alternatives like nyjer seeds, safflower seeds, or millet, which starlings are not as fond of.

3. Can I use any natural repellents to keep starlings away from my feeders?

There are a few natural repellents that may discourage starlings from emptying your feeders. Some people have had success with placing deterrents like reflective tape, wind chimes, or hawk decoys near their feeders. However, it’s worth noting that the effectiveness of these methods may vary and they may not work for everyone.

4. Are there any other bird species that can help deter starlings?

Yes, there is a range of birds that are known to be more dominant and can help keep starlings away from your feeders. Blue jays, cardinals, and woodpeckers are examples of birds that are less likely to be intimidated by starlings. Attracting these species to your feeders can create a more challenging environment for starlings.

5. Is it safe to physically remove starlings from my feeders?

While it may be tempting to physically remove starlings from your feeders, it is generally not recommended. Interfering with the birds can cause stress and potentially harm them. It’s best to focus on preventative measures rather than trying to physically remove the starlings.

6. Can starlings damage my bird feeders?

Starlings are known to be quite aggressive feeders, and their pecking and dominance can cause damage to bird feeders over time. Investing in high-quality feeders made of durable materials can help minimize the risk of damage. Regularly inspect your feeders for any signs of wear and replace them if necessary.

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.