How to Get Rid of It

Home Remedies and Tips to Solve Common Problems

How to Get Rid of Starlings

starling birdThe starling: you may think he’s a handsome individual, with his iridescent blue-black plumage and his bold eye—that is, until you look up and see 3000 of his friends flocking in to roost all around you. In their huge numbers, starlings do a tremendous amount of damage.

Uninviting Starlings

The simplest and kindest approach to getting rid of starlings is simply to make your location less attractive than others. Try covering all possible food sources such as feed piles or dumps or grain storage. If starlings are displacing valued birds like purple martins or bluebirds in your area, you can modify your birdhouses to feature crescent-shaped entries, which starlings avoid, rather than the round holes they favor. If your house or outbuildings provided nesting places, fill or cover crevices, rafters, and other nest-attracting crannies with fine mesh wire to keep the birds off.

Repelling Starlings

The next level of engagement in your quest to get rid of starlings will involve actively scaring them off. Some people report success with a simple inflatable plastic balloon in the shape of a great horned owl. There are also sonic repellents that emit sounds mimicking predator or distress calls. Laser repellents will shoot light beams into roosting spots, confusing and alarming the birds. The old-fashioned burst of firecrackers can disturb a mass roosting, but is probably not practical for continuous application. For a quieter deterrent, consider a cat—though if your concern is for other native bird species, this method has its drawbacks.

Trapping and/or Killing Starlings

A really huge starling problem necessitates drastic measures. On an individual level, the old-guard solution of a shotgun burst into a roosting tree may still feel satisfying, but it’s generally illegal within city limits. City agencies, airfields, and agricultural concerns will sometimes undertake large-scale trapping programs to get rid of starlings. Large numbers of birds will be gassed after trapping with nets or other means. In recent years these activities have also netted a large number of complaints about the unethical treatment of starlings, so sometimes they are relocated instead of being killed. This is not a practical plan for the individual, but if your starling problem is severe, it’s worth talking to local authorities to find out if they are willing to take action.

Your approach to getting rid of starlings will depend on their nuisance level and your own feelings about ethical treatment. It’s not impossible, but it may be a long and difficult project.

12 Comments

  1. As far as I am concerned, you can kill the lot of them, they’re nothing more than feathered locusts and they’re noisy little buggers to boot. It’s quite satisfying shooting them through the head with a .22 though :)

    • I hate them too. They built their nest in our vents, stank up the whole bathroom downstairs with the smell coming through the vents. We blocked them by installing solid stainless steel grills over the outside vents. This year I see that they have started building in the eaves on the porch. Unfortunately I don’t have a shotgun but I hear you.

  2. We have hundreds of them in our barns, they mess everywheres which causes the animals to get sick, we shoot at them constantly but does not help and block off all entresses but they always find way in

  3. I couldn’t agree more, and to all of you who are prostarling maybe you can come to my house and clean my deck and buy my dog food that they eat up every chance they get!!! I despise these birds, it is a daily fight to keep them out of my dog’s food. I go through 50 pounds of dog food every week and a half, (I have mastiffs), and the birds probably eat about a third of that! Mastiffs are very messy eaters so they have to eat outside. I pick up the dog food after they are done eating, but the birds bother my dogs, and still manage to get to their food. They are rats with wings!!!

  4. I hate these birds!We have never had a problem with them and now this year we can not seem to keep them away!They have been making nests all over our deck and when i got out to get rid of their nest they try and attack me, so we have resorted to shooting them because they seem impossible to get rid of. I am going to try putting up an owl though and hopefully that will help!

  5. HI

    we have a few nests in the gap between the spouting and the roof. one is right by the wall of our bedroom and you hear them ALL NIGHT sscratching around and chirping sometimes. they will be due to fledge soon and we want to block the fist sized whole that they are getting in through. does anyone know if putting expanding foam in this will be ok and wont cause any issues on the other side (inside bit) that we cant see into?

    jo

  6. These birds are nasty! They are like flying RATS! They sit on the power line just waiting to scoop up something! I sit there all the time shooting them with the bb gun cuz I’m near houses. So if I could use a shotgun, I WOULD!

  7. Starlings eat an enormous amount of insects and do a lot of good, June bugs etc but they can be a nuisance.

    The only answer is to arrange for someone to bring a hunting hawk . Maybe cheaper to fly a model aircraft with bird shaped wings in the barn.

    Put some raptor nesting boxes on tall poles around and encourage sparrow hawks.

    The roosting flights in the winter is spectacular with their group aerobatics.

  8. I have a deep hate for these little beasts!! We just bought our first home and absolutely love it and our neighborhood… BUT our neighbors, literally a bush away have the living/nesing in their awnings, gutters, even under their shingles… its disgusting, the amount of bird fecies that is all over my deck, my grill, my patio furniture… we’ve spent 100′s od dollars on canopies so we can sit outside and not get crapped on, forget keeping up with washing the car…. they do nothing about it!!! Two years now, I contacted the audobon society (no help) I called the health dept. they agreed it was a sanitation issue, they came out, took photos and agreed it was a nesting issue, but they told me they can’t “force” them to do anything about it, they can only “strongly suggest” they take care of it. I am so frustrated….. i’ve removed ll bird feeders, i’ve hung chimes all over, next buying an owl to put up… I would buy one of th sonic things, but I have a pet cocktail and I can’t sacrifice my bird for these, winged rodents!! Need help, advice… anything???

  9. I hate them so much. we have tall redwood trees that they like to sit in. In the last two weeks i have shot over 100 of the little buggers :) . but there are still literally thousands of them.

  10. We’ve got winged rats as well. We have a bird feeder and love to watch “our” birds – that is until the Starlings show up. So I’ve taken to shooting them with a high-powered .22 air rifle with a 16 power scope. The first week, after killing a number of them, fewer came by the next week. The following week I finished off a few more. After the third week, after taking out some very skittish birds – they no longer come around. Here’s what I’ve learned, they’re not dumb. After an afternoon of exterminating the winged-rats, I simply leave their carcasses where they fall for a day or so. The others see this, and tell their buddies – they really do communicate. My wife was very skeptical at first, but can’t dispute the results. Besides, what could be better than a 50 year old man with a pellet gun shooting at varmints – sorta brings me back to my youth.

  11. Starlings to my understanding are not native to the USA..they were introduced by someone that came over from Europe, something to do in connection with a poem or some such I am told.. kill them all, our local wildlife places wont even take them because they are not native. Wish I still did falconry this wouldn’t be an issue anymore. LOL.. my little Kestrel would be all to happy to clear them out.

    Just had a small flock of them bomb my moms fish pond and the bird bath. When my brother gets home he will go on the hunt for these things as they keep trying to nest in the eves of our house. He invested ALOT of time and money sometime back to run them out of our house and this year is the first time we’ve seen them back and we are going to make sure they keep on moving or they will be shot dead.

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