How to stop the European Starling?

How To Stop The European Starling

European starlings are an invasive nuisance. Their large populations and aggressive behavior are a threat to native birds and can cause damage to crops and structures. To manage this problem, we must understand their biology and behavior.

These birds were introduced to North America in the late 19th century by a misguided person who wanted all the birds from Shakespeare’s works to be in the U.S. Since then, they have spread widely and caused havoc.

Their success as invasive species is due to their adaptability and resourcefulness. They are hard to miss with black plumage and white speckles. They form large flocks, enabling them to outcompete native birds for food and nesting sites.

To control them, several strategies can be implemented:

  1. Remove their preferred nesting sites and use scare devices like reflective objects or predator decoys.
  2. Install netting or wire mesh in vulnerable areas like orchards or vineyards to protect crops while still allowing access to beneficial native birds.
  3. Play distress calls or alarm sounds near known roosting sites to create a sense of danger and discourage residency.

Background information on European Starlings

European Starlings, named Sturnus vulgaris, are an invasive species from Eurasia. Bird watchers love their black plumage with iridescent spots and their melodious songs. But, they cause problems.

In the late 1800s, a group of Shakespeare fans released 100 of these birds in Central Park, New York. They wanted to bring all the birds from Shakespeare’s plays to the New World. But, this led to bad results.

These birds are very adaptive and aggressive. They spread all over North America quickly. They make a lot of noise and their droppings are bad for people and other animals. Their feeding habits cost farmers millions of dollars each year.

One factor in their spread is their reproduction. They lay up to seven eggs per clutch and raise multiple broods. This makes their population increase quickly and move into new places.

An example of their impact is in Napa Valley vineyards. Farmers first brought them to control pests. But, the birds liked grapes and ate them, leading to crop losses. So, farmers had to use deterrents.

Problems caused by European Starlings

European Starlings are notorious for their invasive nature and fast population growth. These birds cause a multitude of issues that require urgent attention. Here are the main ones:

  • Damaging crops – they eat cultivated fruits and grains, leading to great losses.
  • Endangering native species – they compete for food and nesting sites, depleting biodiversity.
  • Spreading diseases – they can carry and transmit pathogens to humans and animals.
  • Noise pollution – their loud vocalizations disrupt urban areas, disturbing residents.
  • Structural damage – their nesting habits can clog gutters, block vents, and damage buildings.
  • Air travel risk – their large flocks pose a threat to aircraft engines during takeoff or landing.

These adaptable birds are capable of thriving in various conditions, resulting in even more damage. Therefore, fast action is needed. Implementing effective bird management strategies can help reduce their populations. Let’s take steps to protect our environment from these invasive species! Join us in solving this problem. Together we can preserve our agriculture, biodiversity, peace, and air travel safety, guarding the balance of our ecosystems. Don’t miss this chance to make a difference!

Ways to prevent European Starlings from nesting

Warding off European Starlings is a must when they opt to build nests. Here are some great ways to do it:

  • Block entry points. Cover up cracks, vents, chimneys, and other openings with wire mesh or other materials.
  • Get rid of food sources. Keep garbage bins sealed, clean up spilled birdseed and pet food, and remove any rotting fruits or berries from the premises.
  • Install deterrents. Use scare tactics such as reflective tape, decoys, noise-makers, or wind spinners.
  • Trim shrubs and trees. Regularly prune vegetation near buildings to eliminate nesting sites.

It’s also essential to know that European Starlings are an invasive species in many places. They were introduced to North America in the 19th century by Shakespeare fans, who wanted all the birds mentioned in his plays to be present in America. But their population surged rapidly, and they are now a major agricultural and ecological hazard.

By taking these preventive measures, we can reduce the impact of European Starlings and safeguard native bird species from displacement and competition due to these aggressive intruders.

Ways to discourage European Starlings from feeding

Starlings are a real nuisance for many. Finding ways to keep them away is difficult. Here are some successful tactics:

  • Limit their food sources. Get rid of open garbage or pet food outdoors.
  • Install bird spikes or netting on ledges and other perching areas.
  • Hang reflective objects or shiny strips around problem areas.
  • Use noise-making devices such as wind chimes, predator calls, or ultrasonic repellents.
  • Seal off any potential nesting sites, such as vents, gaps in buildings, and entrances to attics or eaves.

It’s important to remember that starlings are very adaptable. You may need to use several strategies for successful long-term results.

Did you know? European starlings were first brought to North America in the late 1800s by Shakespeare fans wanting to introduce all his play birds. They were released in Central Park and since then, their population has spread quickly across the continent. (National Audubon Society).

Additional tips for preventing European Starlings

European Starlings can be a nuisance. Here are 3 strategies to prevent them from causing trouble:

  • Install bird spikes – on ledges and other potential roosting spots.
  • Use decoys or scare devices – like scarecrows, reflective materials, or even inflatable predators such as owls.
  • Seal openings in buildings – with wire mesh or caulk.

Starlings are adaptable birds that thrive in urban areas. In 1890, around 100 were brought to NYC. Since then, their numbers have skyrocketed across the continent.

We mustn’t make the same mistakes as before. Implementing these tips will help protect our homes and communities from the persistent presence of European Starlings.


To stop the European Starling, we must comprehend its behavior and take action. Deterrents and removal of attractants are key to minimizing the influence of this invasive species. Being persistent and consistent is important to achieving long-term success.

To control the European Starling population, a comprehensive plan is necessary. This plan includes proactive and reactive measures like sealing potential entry points in buildings, using exclusion devices, installing scare devices, and regular monitoring.

Reducing food sources can limit their access. Secure garbage bins, covered compost piles, and no bird feeders during certain times of the year can help. Planting vegetation that is unattractive to starlings or using bird feeders with mechanisms to prevent larger birds from accessing the feed may be beneficial.

One tale reflects the importance of addressing European Starling infestations proactively. In a small town with an increasing starling population nesting in local buildings, residents came together to create a community-wide management strategy. By using deterrents and teaching property owners on prevention methods, they decreased starling numbers over time. This success not only gave residents peace of mind, but also preserved the town’s historic charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I deter European starlings from my property?

To stop European starlings from invading your property, consider the following methods:

  • Install bird netting or wire mesh to cover potential nesting sites.
  • Use scare devices such as reflective tape, decoys, or predator bird calls.
  • Remove any food sources like open garbage bins or bird feeders.
  • Trim trees or shrubs near your property where they may roost.
  • Consider using bird repellents like taste aversions or ultrasonic devices.

2. Can I legally kill European starlings?

In the United States, European starlings are considered non-native invasive birds and may be legally controlled. However, specific regulations may vary, so it is important to check with your local wildlife agency or municipality for the appropriate permits and guidelines.

3. Are there any natural predators of European starlings?

While European starlings have few natural predators in North America, some potential predators include raptors like hawks and owls. Attracting these birds to your property can help control starling populations naturally.

4. Should I use pesticides to deter European starlings?

No, it is not recommended to use pesticides to deter European starlings. Pesticides can harm other bird species and have negative effects on the environment. It is best to explore humane and eco-friendly methods for starling control.

5. What are the risks of European starlings?

European starlings pose several risks, including:

  • Competing with native bird species for resources like nesting sites and food.
  • Damaging crops and agricultural yields.
  • Spreading diseases to other birds and potentially humans.
  • Creating noise and fouling properties with their droppings.

6. How can I prevent European starlings from nesting in my vents?

To prevent starlings from nesting in vents:

  • Use vent covers or wire mesh with small openings.
  • Regularly check and clean vents to remove any nesting materials.
  • Seal any gaps or openings around vents or rooflines.
  • Consider installing chimney caps or vent screens.

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.