Jul 3, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, June 2019

Discouraging Starlings from Feeders

A European starling greedily eyes the offerings at a suet feeder.
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A flock of European starlings can make short work of your birdseed and suet. To encourage them to dine elsewhere, adapt your buffet and your serving utensils. Starlings' favorite foods are peanuts, mixed seed, bread products, table scraps, and suet. Foods they don't care for include peanuts in the shell and gray striped sunflower seeds—their bill isn't designed to crack open hard hulls. Nyjer seed is too small to be worth the bother for these husky birds, and while they will eat safflower seed and black-oil sunflower, they are not favorites. Also, starlings prefer suet dough that contains seeds over plain suet. Starlings are incredibly adaptable birds, but they struggle to use tube feeders. There are suet feeders in which the access is only at the bottom, requiring birds to hang upside down to feed. That's no problem for woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and most other feeder birds, but challenging for starlings. Try any or all of the above to encourage your neighborhood starling flock to move on to a better buffet elsewhere.



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