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Discouraging Starlings

Hi - my garden has been overtaken this year by a big gang of adolescent starlings.  They eat all of the food as soon as I put it down, they constantly fight with other little birds to discourage them from using the feeders, they squeal all the time and fight with each other, causing them to drop the seed all over the place meaning I have to weed all the time.  They used to only use the big tray of suet I put out especially for them, but now they are using the hanging seed feeders and even trying to hang onto the peanut feeder.  I've bought really small feeders which I hoped that they couldn't get into but it didn't work, they squeeze themselve into them, and I've made plastic covers for a couple of the suet feeders so that only hanging birds can use them, but they have got around that too.  Before I stop feeding the birds completely, just wondered if anyone had come up with any ways of getting rid of them?  They even made their way into my attic and I had to have all my upstairs bathroom vents replaced!



  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802



  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    image Thanks sotongeoff - if only they could read, I'd get that sign up straight away!  Mind you, they are such vandals, they probably would just ignore the sign anyway....  According to that link you posted they are in national decline - not in my garden they're not!  

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    I haven't seen a starling round here for many years now. Wish I could have some of yours, Lunarz.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,314

    There are some starlings which nested under next door's roof tiles, they reared two broods each of which mobbed the feeders for a week or so - I provided them with some suet pellets in their own feeder which they liked, but they soon left the area to go wherever teenage starlings go in the summer - think they'll be down in the reedbeds on the marshes the other side of the hill.  Hopefully yours will go off somewhere else soon image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 480
    I have a flock of starlings that arrive at nearly the same times during the day. I think they do the rounds several times a day because within a couple of hours, they are back. It seems that they send out a scouting party because when they arrive, at least 2 or 3 arrive upto 5 mins before them, and if the feeding station is low or bare, they fly off and the flock don't arrive en masse- a few turn up but not the volume there is if the feeding station is well stocked.

    I gave up at trying to feed mealworms. Sparrows and tits only take a few at a time, but the starlings swoop down and scoff the lot in a matter of minutes. My other half decided one day to throw a whole scoop on thinking I had forgotton, only to find starlings stacking up 2 or 3 high on top of each other on the feeder. She reckoned there must have been over 40 birds in our little back garden all going bonkers for the mealworm.

    I've also had to reduce the lard cakes - the starlings go thru them at a rate of one a day. I have found coconut shells filled with lard/seed last better because not so easy to hang from or off for starlings but ideal for smaller birds.

    I use no mess seed - although more expensive, it means I dont have grass and sunflowers popping up everywhere in the garden. Starlings tend to avoid it too unless they are really desperate.
  • Cherish your starlings, Lunarz. They are declining nationally.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,314

    I've found that theseed mix feeds that have suet pellets in them attract the starlings and they go through it at a rate of knotts rejecting the seeds which get scattered everywhere, in order to get at the suet - so I buy separate suet pellets and put them in easier to access 'lantern' shaped feeders which the starlings love, and I put seed mixes without suet in the other feeders - it seems to work - but our starlings have left as I said, I think they only come to these gardens because of the nesting sites - the rest of the year they're flocking on the marshes and watermeadows.

    They are beautiful birds, and very useful in the garden - when you see them prodding around in the lawn with their beaks, they're eating leatherjackets!!!

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • The DoctorThe Doctor Posts: 177

    I am currently going though £40 a month on bird feed, I seem to have Britain's entire population of chafinch's in my trees. I have an old pallet on the bank behind the kitchen that i put seed on at 6am and 5pm, along with seeded bread for the phesants and 2 bird feeders that again get filed at 6am and 5pm.

    I don't mind feeding them but I would like it if they would eat less and not a kilo a day.

  • KezzaKezza Posts: 90

    Hi Lunarz !

    I found I had a problem with the arrival of starlings a couple of months ago, as I too enjoy feeding all the birds, and there were lots of different babies appearing each day.  I remember on the Saturday I had ONE, yes ONE (scout) starling - thought it was nice to see him as I like to hear the funny noise they make (not the sqwarking !!), but by Monday morning I had TWENTY FOUR, (count them) Starlings raiding my garden, all lining up on the electric wire above my garden (I live in the country).  They do send out scouts looking for food.  I persevered for a good few weeks, of removing the seed and feeders for a day or two - snatching them in before I went to work, they kept coming back, so I persevered more.  The babies got so darn cheeky to the point that I practically could grab one, trying to scare it off the feeder, I was literally 2" away from it, it was determined to stay for the food !

    Thankfully, they seem to have moved on now, crossing my fingers, as haven't seen them for a while now.  Though am happy that I'm getting to see more and more of Woody (Woodpecker) and Sebastian (my Squirrelimage).  Seb has started to destroy my bird peanut feeder by chewing through the bottom of the wire, he emptied it of peanuts every day, so will be making him his own peanut feeder this weekend !

    Good luck with your starlings !!  As other folk have said, hopefully they should move on soon.

    (though must say, I agree with Dovefromabove in that they are useful eating leatherjacks from your lawn, I have a 1/3 acre garden, and frequently came home from work, to find prod holes every 3" all over the garden, they'd worked hard that day !! amazing !!)


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