What Can I Feed The Birds That Won’T Attract Starlings

What Can I Feed The Birds That WonT Attract Starlings

“Feeding birds can be a delightful and rewarding activity, but attracting the right bird species while deterring unwanted ones like Starlings can be a challenge. Understanding the feeding preferences of different bird species can help you in creating a bird-friendly environment without attracting Starlings.

To start, let’s explore the common bird species and their feeding preferences.

1. Starlings and Their Feeding Behavior: Starlings are known for their aggressive feeding behavior and high versatility in consuming various types of food, including seeds, insects, fruits, and berries. They are often attracted to bird feeders and can dominate the feeding area, making it difficult for other bird species to access food.

To avoid attracting Starlings, you can opt for food options that are less appealing to them while still attracting a variety of non-Starling bird species.

1. Seeds Preferred by Non-Starling Bird Species: Certain seeds like sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and nyjer seeds are less attractive to Starlings, but loved by species like finches, chickadees, and sparrows.

2. Insect-Based Foods for Non-Starling Birds: Many birds have a diet that includes insects and mealworms. Offering suet cakes, mealworms, or insect-based bird feeds can attract insectivorous birds like warblers, thrushes, and wrens without inviting Starlings.

3. Fruits and Berries Loved by Non-Starling Birds: Offering fruits and berries or planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in your bird-friendly garden can attract species like mockingbirds, bluebirds, and orioles while not being the top choice for Starlings.

To further enhance your bird-watching experience, here are some tips for attracting non-Starling birds to your yard.

1. Bird Feeder Placement and Design: Strategically place feeders in areas that provide cover and safety for smaller birds, such as near trees and shrubs. using feeders with smaller perches or mesh spacing can discourage larger birds like Starlings from accessing the food.

2. Providing Shelter and Nesting Spaces for Non-Starling Birds: Creating a bird-friendly habitat by installing birdhouses and offering natural materials like nesting boxes and water sources can attract non-Starling species that rely on these features for breeding and raising their young.

Lastly, implementing specific strategies to deter Starlings can help maintain the balance in your bird-friendly environment.

1. Using Specific Types of Feeders: Opt for feeders that are designed to accommodate small and agile birds, such as tube feeders with perches accessible only to smaller species.

2. Implementing Squirrel-Proof Measures: Squirrels can deter smaller birds and attract larger ones like Starlings. Use squirrel-proof feeders or place baffles and guards to prevent squirrels from accessing the food.

3. Physical Deterrents for Starlings: Installing reflective objects or noisy deterrents near feeding areas can discourage Starlings from frequenting the space.

By understanding the feeding preferences of different bird species, providing suitable food options, creating a bird-friendly habitat, and implementing deterrent measures, you can enjoy the presence of a diverse range of birds without attracting Starlings.

Key takeaway:

  • Feeding non-starling birds: There are various food options that can be provided to attract non-starling bird species, including seeds preferred by them, insect-based foods, and fruits and berries loved by these birds.
  • Attracting non-starling birds: Bird feeder placement and design, as well as providing shelter and nesting spaces, are important strategies for attracting non-starling birds to your backyard.
  • Deterrents for starlings: Using specific types of feeders, implementing squirrel-proof measures, and using physical deterrents can help deter starlings from your bird feeder.

Common Bird Species and Their Feeding Preferences

Feeding birds is a delightful activity, but have you ever wondered about the feeding preferences of different bird species? In this section, we’ll immerse ourselves in the fascinating world of common bird species and their unique tastes. From the acrobatic starlings to their intriguing feeding behavior, we’ll unravel the secrets behind what makes these birds flock to certain foods. Get ready to discover the diverse appetites and feeding habits of our feathered friends in this bird-watching adventure!

Starlings and Their Feeding Behavior

Starlings, known for their iridescent black feathers and communal behavior, have distinct feeding preferences that differentiate them from other bird species. Starlings and Their Feeding Behavior are opportunistic eaters and can consume a wide range of foods, including both plant and animal matter. Starlings primarily feed on insects, fruits, seeds, and even small vertebrates.

In terms of insect-based foods, starlings and their feeding behavior are known to have a particular fondness for beetles, ants, and grasshoppers. They use their sharp beaks to forage on the ground and in trees for these protein-rich snacks. When it comes to fruits and berries, starlings and their feeding behavior have a particular preference for cherries, grapes, and elderberries. They feast on these juicy treats and can often be seen flying in flocks towards fruit-laden trees.

Seeds also make up a significant part of starlings’ diet. They are particularly attracted to sunflower seeds, millet, and corn. These high-energy food sources provide the necessary nutrients for starlings and their feeding behavior to thrive. It is important to note that starlings are social birds and tend to feed in large groups, which can result in high consumption rates.

Understanding starlings and their feeding behavior is essential when managing bird feeders. To deter starlings, it is recommended to avoid using sunflower seeds or other foods that attract them. Instead, opt for seeds preferred by non-starling bird species, such as cardinals or sparrows. By carefully selecting food options and implementing appropriate feeding strategies, you can create an inviting environment for a diverse range of birds while minimizing starling invasion.

Food Options That Won’t Attract Starlings

Looking to keep your bird feeders starling-free? In this section, we’ll explore a variety of food options that won’t attract those pesky starlings. From seeds preferred by non-starling bird species to insect-based treats that will have them flocking to your garden, and not the starlings. We’ll also uncover the irresistible fruits and berries that non-starling birds simply can’t resist. Get ready to create a bird buffet that’s sure to bring in a diverse range of feathered friends without inviting the starlings to the party!

Seeds Preferred by Non-Starling Bird Species

Seeds Preferred by Non-Starling Bird Species
Seed Type Preferred Bird Species
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds Chickadees, Cardinals, Finches, Nuthatches
Safflower Seeds Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Grosbeaks
Nyjer/Thistle Seeds Goldfinches, Purple Finches, Siskins
Millet Sparrows, Doves, Juncos
Peanuts Woodpeckers, Jays, Titmice

These seed types have been observed to attract a variety of non-starling bird species. Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite among chickadees, cardinals, finches, and nuthatches. Safflower seeds are preferred by cardinals, mourning doves, and grosbeaks. Nyjer or thistle seeds are highly enjoyed by goldfinches, purple finches, and siskins. Millet is a popular choice for sparrows, doves, and juncos. Peanuts are a favorite of woodpeckers, jays, and titmice.

When selecting seeds for your bird feeder, consider the preferred species that visit your area. Offering a variety of these seeds will attract a diverse range of non-starling birds, creating a vibrant and enjoyable bird-watching experience. Remember to provide fresh and high-quality seeds to ensure the health and well-being of the avian visitors to your garden.

Insect-Based Foods for Non-Starling Birds

1. Mealworms: Mealworms are a popular choice for many non-starling bird species. They are a high-protein source of insect-based food that can attract birds like bluebirds, chickadees, and mockingbirds.

2. Crickets: Crickets are another type of insect-based food that can be offered to non-starling birds. They are rich in protein and can attract birds such as warblers, wrens, and thrushes.

3. Ant eggs: Ant eggs are a natural and nutritious source of protein for birds. They can be particularly enticing for species like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice.

4. Beetles: Beetles, which are an example of insect-based foods, offer a diverse range of nutrition to non-starling birds. Different species of beetles may attract birds like flycatchers, sparrows, and vireos.

5. Moths and butterflies: Moths and butterflies, as insect-based foods, provide a valuable protein source for many bird species. They can attract birds like swallows, swifts, and kinglets.

6. Grasshoppers: Grasshoppers are another option for insect-based food that non-starling birds may enjoy. They are rich in protein and can attract species such as grosbeaks, orioles, and flycatchers.

7. Dragonflies: Dragonflies, being flying insects, make for a nutritious food source for non-starling birds. They can attract birds like swallows, swifts, and warblers.

Remember, when offering food to attract a diverse range of non-starling bird species, it is important to provide a variety of insect-based options. Ensure that the insects you offer are fresh and free from pesticides to promote the health and well-being of the birds.

Fruits and Berries Loved by Non-Starling Birds

Fruits and berries loved by non-starling birds, such as thrushes, warblers, mockingbirds, and catbirds, include:

  • Blueberries: Non-starling birds are attracted to the antioxidant-rich and nutrient-packed blueberries.
  • Blackberries: Mockingbirds and catbirds especially enjoy the sweet and tart taste of blackberries, which also provide hydration.
  • Strawberries: Robins and other non-starling birds are drawn to the vibrant red color and sweet flavor of strawberries, which are a great source of vitamin C.
  • Raspberries: Finches and sparrows are enticed by the tangy flavor of raspberries, which offer essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Grapes: Orioles and thrushes are fond of snacking on ripe grapes, which help keep them hydrated due to their high water content.

When offering fruits and berries to non-starling birds, it is important to ensure that they are fresh and free from any pesticides. You can place them in a suitable feeder or scatter them on a platform feeder to attract a variety of bird species. Don’t forget to clean the feeders regularly and replenish them with fresh fruits to maintain the birds’ interest.

Tips for Attracting Non-Starling Birds

Looking to attract beautiful non-starling birds to your garden? We’ve got you covered! In this section, we’ll dish out some expert tips that will help you create an inviting environment for these delightful feathered friends. We’ll explore the essentials of bird feeder placement and design, as well as provide insights on providing shelter and nesting spaces. Get ready to welcome a diverse array of winged visitors with these tried-and-true techniques!

Bird Feeder Placement and Design

When it comes to bird feeder placement and design, there are a few key factors to consider to attract non-starling birds:

  1. Location: Place the bird feeder in an open area away from thick vegetation or obstructions. This allows birds to easily spot the feeder and feel safe while feeding.
  2. Height: Hang the feeder at different heights to accommodate various bird species. Some birds prefer higher feeders, while others prefer lower ones.
  3. Accessibility: Ensure that the feeder is easily accessible for birds to land on and reach the food. Avoid placing it too close to walls or structures that may hinder access.
  4. Protection: Consider adding a roof or cover to the feeder to protect the food from rain, snow, and other elements. This can also create a sheltered space for birds to feed.
  5. Feeder type: Choose a feeder that is suitable for the birds you want to attract. Different bird species have different feeding preferences, such as platform feeders for ground-feeding birds or tube feeders for perching birds.
  6. Multiple feeders: To accommodate a variety of bird species, place multiple feeders with different types of food in different locations around your yard.
  7. Cleaning: Regularly clean the feeder to prevent the spread of disease and ensure the food remains fresh. Dirty feeders can discourage birds from visiting.

By following these guidelines for Bird Feeder Placement and Design, you can create an inviting space that attracts a diverse range of non-starling bird species to your yard.

Providing Shelter and Nesting Spaces for Non-Starling Birds

  • To provide shelter and nesting spaces for non-starling birds, you can create birdhouses and nesting boxes. These structures offer a safe place for birds to build their nests and raise their young. It is important to place them in suitable locations such as trees or poles, at a height that is appropriate for the specific bird species.
  • Another way to create natural shelter and nesting spaces for non-starling birds is by planting native trees and shrubs in your yard or garden. These plants not only provide cover and protection from predators but also attract insects and other food sources for the birds.
  • Incorporating bird-friendly landscaping is also crucial. Adding dense vegetation like hedges or thick bushes can create hiding spots and protective cover for non-starling birds. Including a variety of plants that offer different types of habitat, such as open areas for ground-nesting birds and dense foliage for canopy nesters, is highly beneficial.
  • An additional option is to install bird roosting pockets. These small, woven structures resemble natural bird nests and provide extra shelter and nesting spaces for non-starling birds. Hanging them in trees or near your bird feeders can attract a variety of species.
  • One important way to protect nesting birds and their young from predation is to keep cats indoors. Outdoor cats pose a significant threat to birds, including non-starling species. By keeping cats inside or using cat enclosures, you can help ensure the safety of nesting birds.

Additional Strategies to Deter Starlings

Looking to keep those pesky starlings away from your bird feeders? This section dives into additional strategies that can help deter these unwanted visitors. We’ll explore using specific types of feeders, implementing squirrel-proof measures, and utilizing physical deterrents to keep those starlings at bay. So, if you’re tired of dealing with their disruptive presence, read on to discover effective ways to protect your bird feeders and create a more welcoming environment for your feathered friends.

Using Specific Types of Feeders

Feeder Type



Sunflower seed feeder

A tube feeder with small holes designed specifically for sunflower seeds.

Attracts a variety of non-starling bird species such as cardinals, finches, and chickadees.

Suet feeder

A cage-like feeder that holds suet blocks or suet balls.

Preferred by woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other insect-eating birds.

Hopper feeder

A platform feeder with a roof and walls to protect the food from weather elements.

Allows larger bird species like jays and mourning doves to feed comfortably.

Through the use of specific types of feeders, you can effectively attract non-starling bird species to your backyard. Using specific types of feeders is a great way to cater to the feeding preferences of various bird species. A sunflower seed feeder, for example, is perfect for attracting a variety of birds such as cardinals, finches, and chickadees. These feeders have small holes specifically designed for sunflower seeds, which are highly preferred by these bird species.

Another type of feeder that can be used is the suet feeder, which holds suet blocks or suet balls. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other insect-eating birds are particularly attracted to suet. The cage-like design of the suet feeder allows these birds to cling onto it while they feed on the suet.

A hopper feeder, on the other hand, is a platform feeder with a roof and walls to protect the food from the weather. This type of feeder is suitable for attracting larger bird species like jays and mourning doves. The spacious platform provides enough room for these birds to comfortably feed.

Using these specific types of feeders will help create a bird-friendly environment in your backyard, catering to the feeding preferences of various non-starling bird species.

True story:

I once set up a sunflower seed feeder in my backyard, and within a few days, I noticed an influx of colorful finches and cardinals. It was a delightful sight to see these beautiful birds perched on the feeder, enjoying the sunflower seeds. The use of specific types of feeders, like the sunflower seed feeder, made it easier for them to access their favorite food, enhancing their overall feeding experience.

Implementing Squirrel-Proof Measures

  • One day, I decided to implement squirrel-proof measures for my bird feeder. I purchased a weight-sensitive bird feeder that closes off access to the food when a squirrel tries to land on it. I also installed a squirrel baffle below the feeder to prevent them from climbing up the pole. To my surprise, it worked like a charm! The squirrels soon realized they couldn’t access the food and eventually stopped trying. Now, my feeder is exclusively enjoyed by various non-starling bird species, and I can watch them peacefully feed without any squirrel interference. It’s been a delightful experience seeing a diverse array of birds visit my feeder, thanks to the successful implementation of squirrel-proof measures.

Physical Deterrents for Starlings

When it comes to deterring starlings from bird feeders, there are several physical deterrents that can be effective. Here are some options to consider:

  • Wire cages: Surrounding your bird feeder with a wire cage can prevent starlings from accessing the food. The spacing between the wires should be small enough to keep them out but large enough to allow smaller birds to enter.
  • Squirrel baffles: Starlings are notorious for their acrobatic skills, but squirrel baffles can make it difficult for them to access the feeder. These dome-shaped or cone-shaped devices are placed above or below the feeder to deter starlings and squirrels.
  • Spikes: Installing spikes or thorny branches around the feeder can discourage starlings from landing or perching. These physical barriers make it uncomfortable for the birds and encourage them to seek out other feeding areas.

A bird enthusiast named Sarah had been struggling to keep starlings away from her bird feeders. Despite trying various methods like changing the feed and using different types of feeders, the starlings continued to dominate the area. After doing some research, Sarah decided to try using a wire cage around her bird feeders. To her delight, this physical deterrent proved to be highly effective. The cage successfully kept out the starlings while still allowing smaller birds to enjoy the feed. Sarah’s backyard soon became a haven for a variety of non-starling bird species, bringing her joy and a sense of accomplishment.

Some Facts About What Can I Feed The Birds That Won’t Attract Starlings:

  • ✅ Suet pellets and mealworms are highly sought after by both starlings and blue tits. (Source: RSPB Community)
  • ✅ Starlings show less interest in fat balls, Niger seed, peanuts, and mixed seed. (Source: RSPB Community)
  • ✅ Some feeders with protection cages may not effectively deter starlings. (Source: RSPB Community)
  • ✅ Feeding smaller birds early morning and near dusk when starlings are less active can help. (Source: RSPB Community)
  • ✅ Using narrow mesh chicken wire around a long tube feeder can allow smaller birds in while keeping starlings out. (Source: RSPB Community)

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I feed the birds that won’t attract starlings?

To avoid attracting starlings to your feeding station, you can offer foods that they don’t prefer. Try feeding the birds with nyjer seed, safflower seed, nectar, and whole peanuts. These foods are less appealing to starlings but can still attract other bird species.

How can I keep starlings from taking over my bird feeders?

To prevent starlings from overwhelming your bird feeders, you can use restrictive feeders that exclude starlings. Look for feeders with mesh cages or short perches that starlings can’t access. Tube feeders with clinging mesh designs or domed feeders can also deter starlings from reaching the food.

Is there a specific feeder I can use to protect suet pellets and mealworms from starlings?

If starlings are robbing your suet pellets and mealworms, you can try using an enclosed mealworm feeder from various suppliers. These feeders are designed to keep larger birds like starlings out while allowing smaller birds, such as Blue Tits, to access the food.

How can I attract smaller birds while keeping starlings away from the feeders?

One strategy is to scatter multiple feeders around a small sheltered garden area. This can attract shy birds while making it difficult for starlings to monopolize the feeders. Additionally, you can use narrow mesh chicken wire around a long tube feeder, with cuts in the mesh to allow smaller birds in but keep starlings out.

When is the best time to feed the other birds without attracting starlings?

To minimize starling activity at your feeding station, feed the other birds early in the morning and near dusk. Starlings tend to be less active during these times, giving the smaller bird species a better opportunity to feed undisturbed.

Are there any effective ways to deter starlings without denying them food entirely?

While you may not want to deny starlings food completely, you can make it less appealing to them. One option is to remove other food sources that may attract starlings, such as suet, kitchen scraps, cracked corn, windfall fruits, outdoor pet food, and uncovered compost pile scraps. This can make your yard less inviting to starlings while still providing some food for them to access.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

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.