Sunday, February 6, 2011

Unwanted Guests...

There are a few wildlife visitors that that I could do without...  Today my uninvited and unwanted guests include Starlings and Grackles.  I am becoming increasingly annoyed with their rude behavior, insatiable appetite, and did I mention the mess that a hundred-plus birds descending on my deck and feeders can create?  One reason I have to justify my hatred of Starlings is that they are not a native bird.  Supposedly in 1890 a wealthy American businessman, Eugene Schieffelin, supported the exchange of plants/animals from other parts of the world.  He introduced 100 Starlings into New York Central Park during the early 1890s...and the rest is history.  Today the bird's range is from Alaska to Florida and even into Mexico with their population estimated at over two hundred million...

A lone Bluebird patiently waiting it's turn..  
See the glass feeder in the above photo?... The bottom broke off and I'm blaming it on those pesky birds.  I put another feeder out and now it's on the ground. Understand my frustration?
I thought I'd pass on the few strategies I've learned to deal/manage these pests...

  • Take your feeders down for a few days and hopefully the birds will move on to another location. This is where I'm at on my strategy list...
  • Use thistle/tube feeders that the large birds can't hold on to. For suet feeders, try one that requires the birds to hang upside down. Woodpeckers enjoy this, but supposedly Starlings don't.
  • Make a cage of chicken wire around your feeders that only allows smaller birds access to the birdseed.  Doesn't sound too attractive, so I probably won't do this...
  • Avoid platform feeders completely and try to keep birdseed off the ground.
  • Use only safflower seed and avoid mixed birdseed containing milo.
  • Learn to enjoy and appreciate these birds.  I don't think so... 

I'll wait a week then only use thistle and safflower in my feeders...  Hopefully, my visitors will have packed-up and moved-on!


  1. Starlings are a pest in Australia too. But my most detested introduced bird is the Indian Mynah. Like the starlings where you are it is here in large numbers. It bullies the native birds. It nests in tree hollows. Our native parrots (and possums) are often evicted by them. The native birds will share trees. Indian Mynahs are territorial and while only using one nesting hollow will not allow any other species to use the others nearby. That feels good, having a rant. Thankyou. I hope your strategies work with your feeders.

  2. I hope you have success keeping those pest away from your feeders!

  3. Dear Rebecca, I so agree with everything you said in this post. Good luck in keeping the pests away. P

  4. Thanks for the comments and encouragement! Since I've switched to safflower seed most of the Starlings have left. Of course now I'm paying twice as much to feed the birds, but it's worth the price! Hazel-The Indian Mynah sounds like a bird I could do without.. Hopefully it will never make it to my Midwest American feeder!

  5. Yesterday as I watched the birds at my feeders I was thinking it won't be long before the grackles descend upon them too. I really dislike grackles...they're messy, noisy, aggressive, blah, blah, blah...I'm going to take my biggest feeder down at first sight of them. It is the only feeder they can eat from. The other feeder I have is weight balanced so heavy birds can't feed there. I love this feeder. The largest bird that eats from it is the occasional Cardinal. If two Cardinals sit at the same time, it closes so they get a bit miffed! I feel your pain!



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