What exactly are starlings and why do people want to get rid of them?
A starling is a type of bird that originated from Europe that were brought to New York City in the 1890’s. They released one hundred of the starling birds in Central Park years ago. These birds now flourish here in North America where there are now over 200 million of them. You can find them thriving from Alaska all the way to Mexico! They are so over populated that now some people consider them to be pest and are looking for ways to get rid of the birds.
What are the characteristics of the starling?
Starling birds are short small black birds. In the summer, they are dark and glossy and during fall and winter they will have white spots on their feathers. The birds that some people find lovely have short stubby tails, triangular wings, and long pointed bills for eating insects, seeds and berries. These birds have been said to have aggressive behavior, which is one of the reasons some people, or maybe even you are looking for some effective ways at keeping these birds at bay. Worst of all, starlings often travel in big flocks so not only do you have to deal with their aggressive behavior, but they tend to leave a lot of droppings while destroying gardens and crops as well which farms and gardeners hate.
What is the habitat of these birds?
Starlings mostly like to live in suburbs due to the high volumes of food, water and nesting sources they have available to them. However, you can also find them in the city too, which you may have already figured out since we just talked about them being released into New York City years ago.
These birds in general, love large open grassy areas and big open bodies of water to drink form and play in. They also love to be close to tall trees and buildings for nesting, which explains why they love building homes in skyscrapers or even large fancy homes. However, for business and homeowners these birds building their homes inside of their spaces is a real problem.
Starlings will eat nearly anything also from bugs all the way to trash so keeping the insect population down and the trash cleaned up around your area is one way of preventing these birds from invading your spaces.
These birds also enjoy eating different types of berries and grains so farmers and gardeners watch out for those berry bushes and crops. As you can see these birds can pretty much thrive and adopt in any location within North America as long as resources are freely and abundantly available to them.
With all this being said, if you are some of those people that find these birds becoming a nuisance, thankfully there are some helpful tips to try to keep these birds from becoming a bigger problem.
Tips to Help Keep Starlings Away
- Block off some common places a starling can nest like ledges off of your house. Putting angled boards down can help in places like that.
- Block off any kind of opening like vents sometimes even chimneys.
- Use visual effects such as balloons, flashing lights, reflective items and fake props such as owls, hawks, and foxes
- Use sound effects such as alarms, a recording of a distressed bird, an explosion or gunshot noise to scare the birds off. It is important to note to play these sound effects erratically not at the same time everyday because Starlings are intelligent and learn the pattern of when you play the sound effects each day.
- The use of water could help frighten the starlings away. Just spray the birds with water once again make sure it’s randomly not on a particular schedule.
- You could use anti-bird spray if you have food sources on your property like berries or crops. You can also try spraying garlic oil throughout gardens and crops because that has been know to help too if pesticides are not something you prefer.
- If you have trash outside make sure it is in a closed trash container because as mentioned starlings will eat nearly anything including food inside a trash bag.
- If you have livestock on your property provide bigger pellets for your livestock. It makes it more difficult for the Starlings to consume, and whatever you do, do not put animal feed directly onto the ground since this attract large roosts of starling birds. Always feed animals in a sheltered area, or in the evening or after dark.
Are Starlings Protected?
If these tips still do not help manage the birds you could always remove the nests of the Starlings but make sure you check your state’s law first about re-moving the nests. Although in most states these birds are not protective under the state law, but it is always good to check.
It is also important to make sure you are positive its a Starlings nest that you would be re-locating, or destroying. If you are one hundred percent sure it is wise to ask for some help from bird professionals.
With all that said, although these birds may become a problem for some people they are still part of Mother Nature and they bring some beauty into this world. Here are some fun facts about these birds:
- They can fly as fast as 48 mph
- They have a sense of taste. They can taste salts, sugars, citric acid, and bitterness.
- They are song birds and can mimic up to 20 different species of birds some of these birds include the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, Meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite , Wood Thrush, Red-Tailed Hawk, American Robin, and the Northern Flicker.
- The oldest starling that was found and recorded was 15 years and 9 months old.
- Some female starlings will lay their eggs in another female’s nest due to the fact that she found a mate too late.
- The male chooses the nest site and also makes the nest to attract the female starling.
- Both male and female starlings incubate the eggs