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Starlings Help/Advice (1 Viewer)

Andyml

New member
United Kingdom
Hi there,

First time posting here and I could do with some help or advice (apologies if this is the wrong sub-forum)

Like many my household has taken to feeding the birds in our back garden with seed, fat balls, meal worms and general kitchen scraps. We don't get a huge amount of variety but we've got a big family of sparrows, all the usual tits, robin, blackbirds, doves, jackdaws etc. And it's great fun to watch them.

However we've recently had a group of Starlings arrive, and they're causing real problems. In a nutshell - they eat everything! We can put out 6 or 8 fat balls one morning and by the late afternoon they're completely gone. Piles of meal worms vanish in minutes. But most worrying is they've found a way to empty our seed holder that is designed to close shut when anything above a certain weight lands on it. The Starlings should weigh more than enough to trigger the mechanism but somehow they seem to be distributing their weight so it doesn't fully close.

Basically they're dominating every food source we provide and it's meaning all the other birds are missing out. Especially as the Starlings are so bolshy and without much fear whereas many of the other birds seem intimated by them.

So, my question is: does anyone have any advice or ideas of how to limit the Starlings from stealing and dominating everything. I don't begrudge them using what we put out - they all need to eat - but not at the expense of every other bird. Plus we're going through seed/fat balls/meal worms like nobody's business and it's costing an arm and a leg!

Any ideas or tips would be hugely appreciated!

Thanks!
 

Andyml

New member
United Kingdom

I haven't, no. I think I always had it in my mind that the caged feeders were to keep squirrels and bigger birds from the seed, and that a Starling would just be able to either fit or lean through the bars.

I will definitely take a look at the ones you've linked to though. Thanks very much!
 

jenks86

Well-known member
I haven't, no. I think I always had it in my mind that the caged feeders were to keep squirrels and bigger birds from the seed, and that a Starling would just be able to either fit or lean through the bars.

I will definitely take a look at the ones you've linked to though. Thanks very much!
When/if you get something to stop the Starlings clearing out your food. Please try to make sure you still put food out for the starlings as well. Of the birds you listed as visiting they are one of the species that have suffered the biggest declines in the UK over recent times.
 

Andyml

New member
United Kingdom
When/if you get something to stop the Starlings clearing out your food. Please try to make sure you still put food out for the starlings as well. Of the birds you listed as visiting they are one of the species that have suffered the biggest declines in the UK over recent times.
I absolutely will!

I was actually really pleased to see them initially as it had been years since we'd had any in our garden. And as I said in my original post, I don't begrudge feeding them at all. It's only their somewhat locust-like ability to munch through literally every morsel of food at breakneck speed before moving on that's put me off.

The ideal solution is to be able to feed the Starlings and all the smaller birds, which hopefully a caged feeder will solve.
 

JANET777

Member
United Kingdom
I absolutely will!

I was actually really pleased to see them initially as it had been years since we'd had any in our garden. And as I said in my original post, I don't begrudge feeding them at all. It's only their somewhat locust-like ability to munch through literally every morsel of food at breakneck speed before moving on that's put me off.

The ideal solution is to be able to feed the Starlings and all the smaller birds, which hopefully a caged feeder will solve.
I BUY LARGE BAGS OF DOG KIBBLE FROM ALDI AND SOAK IT REALLY WELL, THIS WAY I FEED LARGE AMOUNTS OF BIRDS EVERY DAY, 30 CROWS,15 WOOD PIGEONS, 20 OR MORE MAGPIES, BLACKBIRDS, DOVES, JACKDAWS, ROBINS, AND 2 SPARROWS. THEY ALL COME TOGETHER IN THE MORNING AND AGAIN BEFORE THEY GO TO BED. THEY ALL GET ON WELL TOGETHER AND SHARE THE FOOD. SOMETIMES THEY HAVE A LITTLE SQUABBLE BUT NOTHING SERIOUS AND IT'S QUITE COMICAL. I HAD A NEW ARRIVAL LAST WEEK ANOTHER CROW WHO NOW COMES EVERY DAY. I KNOW IT'S NEW AS I HAVE NEVER HAD A CROW TALK TO ME BEFORE, IT SHOUTS ''COME ON THEN, COME ON'' IN A WOMANS VOICE AND CALLS OTHER ENDEARMENTS TO ME. OBVIOUSLY, ANOTHER LADY SOMEWHERE IS ALSO FEEDING IT.
JANET FROM NOTTINGHAM
 
I'm in Canada where obviously Starlings are not native -- their numbers here are massive and they outcompete native birds for resources like food and nesting spaces, so we go to great lengths here to try to keep them from mobbing our feeders. (Interestingly our native birds don't have mobbing behaviours like Starlings and House Sparrows.) I have found that caged feeders definitely work, especially if there is a cover (weather guard, squirrel baffle) overhead. They don't seem to eat safflower seeds (not sure if these are widely available in Europe) and don't seem to like large striped sunflower seeds in shells (as opposed to the smaller black oil sunflower seeds). When huge mobs decide to hang out in my garden, if I'm home I play "starling distress call" video on YouTube at the highest volume my laptop will allow, and this disperses them for a little while. If you find anything else that works, please let us know!
 

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