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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  • How long do other seeds stay fresk? Sunflower seeds? Millet? Safflower?
    by Sue, Sat, 06 Feb 2021
  • I understand that the ducks' blood vessel arrangement in their feet is to provide the benefits of the counter-current heat exchanger mechanism; returning cold venous blood from the feet is warmed by the descending warm arterial blood, preventing excess heat loss by the feet and avoiding cold blood from chilling the body. This means that the feet are cold, not warm.
    by Frank Barch, Sat, 02 Jan 2021
  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020