are starlings a nuisance bird

You are not alone. European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are one of the worst (and most hated) nuisance birds in the U.S. This non-native, invasive species has spread across rural and urban North America. When starlings are in a flocking phase, large numbers, sometimes even thousands of these birds (sometimes called a murmuration) can overwhelm industrial facilities, airports, farms, orchards, parking lots, parks, airports, golf courses, and residential neighborhoods, causing a variety of problems:

Bird Barrier offers a number of high-quality starling control solutions including bird traps, deterrents, and repellents. With the right starling control products, you can solve any starling problem for good. We are here to help! Tell us about your starling problem and we’ll point you to the solutions you need.

How did starling populations become so large?

In 1890, European starlings were brought to the United States for the first time. Rumor has it that anywhere from sixty to one hundred starlings were released in Central Park with the intention of establishing all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works in the New World. In the case of the starling, the wish became reality. Over the past century, the number of starlings has increased to between 150 and 200 million. Because they can take advantage of a wide range of habitats, nesting locations, and food sources, starlings have flourished. They will consume a wide range of fruits, seeds, and invertebrates, among other things.

Every year, starlings cause hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage to agricultural operations and cause issues for livestock and poultry facilities. To feed, starlings congregate at feed troughs, contaminating nearby food and water sources. Additionally, starlings have been known to nest and roost inside buildings, which can lead to hygienic issues.

Salmonella, blastomycosis, and transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), a swine disease, are among the illnesses that European starlings can transmit to humans and livestock.

are starlings a nuisance bird

Sanitation issues involving starlings are another problem. Large volumes of droppings can corrode cars, buildings, and statues and make streets extremely slick in urban areas. The copious amount of droppings combined with their chemical action can cause harm and death to trees and any undergrowth.

are starlings a nuisance bird

Starlings present a serious risk to aviation travel in their thousands-strong flocks. They have been connected to aviation mishaps, especially when planes have collided with whole flocks of birds, and they frequently forage close to airports.

A flock of 4,000 starlings can often result in a significant loss of income for a large vineyard in just one week. In addition, starlings can ruin apples, blueberries, cherries, and other pitted fruits.

Additionally, European starlings harm natural ecosystems because they often outcompete native bird species for food and nesting locations. Because European starlings are cavity nesters, they may be contributing to the decline of species such as woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers, tree swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and purple martins by vying for their nests. Additionally, they transmit diseases, ticks, and mites that infect native bird species and even people.

Effective Starling Control Products: Choose the Right Trap, Repellent, or Deterrent

A long-term management strategy that incorporates a range of solutions and products may be necessary for the complete and permanent removal of starlings. Among our best-selling items for eliminating starlings are the following:

  • Bird-Shock Flex-Track (shocks starlings with electricity when it comes into contact)
  • BirdSlide (keeps starlings from grasping ledges, allowing them to slide off!)
  • Starlings are kept out by StealthNet, an exclusion bird netting composed of polyethylene twine. The best course of action for starling issues is frequently prevention through total exclusion using 1-1/8?? mesh netting. ).
  • Optical Gel (a full sensory deterrent)
  • Bird-Gard (an audio device that scares starlings)
  • Starling traps (trapping is a last resort. Prior to setting up traps, we advise attempting all other relevant starling solutions.
  • At Bird Barrier, we’re here to help you find exactly what you need for your situation—whether that’s a large facility, a commercial building, or your home. We offer expert support with our Product Advisor tool, installation videos, and top-of-the-line

An electrified ledge deterrent system with a low profile that works against all species of birds

A range of traps are available from Bird Barrier to safely remove birds from a location.

The strongest, most versatile bird exclusion system. StealthNet bird netting denies birds access to any architecture.

Simply put, no bird species is able to grab onto anything and fall off the edge. Inverted, it prevents swallow nests.

Trapping is an option if you have exhausted all other options and are still unable to resolve your starling issue. Bird Barrier offers a heavy duty, humane Starling Trap. This starling trap’s 1/4″ and 1″ rod frame and 14 gauge welded wire construction allow for ample space for birds to fly around inside until they are ready to be released. Just wait while you bait starling traps with suet, sunflower, safflower, or cracked corn, or any other food that attracts starlings. Until they can be released in a different area, the birds will feel secure and at ease within the trap. Options for shade and water are available.

Starlings are not protected by federal law. Before trapping starlings, always check with your local wildlife agency as state laws pertaining to these birds may differ. Even though trapping is allowed in your area, bear in mind that lethal starling control techniques like shooting or poisoning may be prohibited. Trapping starlings is often not the best management solution; in many cases, other starling deterrents will be. For professional guidance on whether or not to use traps and which starling trap is best for your needs, get in touch with Bird Barrier’s customer service team.

Starling Deterrents: Audio, Visual, and Other Repellents

Large flocks or agricultural applications can be rid of or deter starlings with a planned, coordinated scare campaign that includes strategically positioned, high-tech audio or visual repellents and other irritating objects that prick their other senses. Options include:

Optical Gel

With no harm to the birds, Optical Gel is a humane audio and visual bird control product that keeps starlings away from edges, signs, balconies, soffits, beams, skylights, roofs, air conditioning equipment, and enclosed spaces. By deceiving starlings into believing they are in the presence of fire or smoke and emitting the offensive smell of peppermint oil, OpticalGel deters them. Just place Optical Gel dishes eight inches apart on the surface you want to keep starlings away from. Starlings will leave a site once they are applied, even if they have been using it for years. The best starling control method for locations where mechanical deterrents aren’t an option is optical gel.


Combining electronic and natural noises, such as shotgun or cannon sounds, predator hunting and attack sequences, and species-specific distress calls, audio deterrents effectively ward off starlings. A programmable electronic audio repeller called Bird-Gard is the best option for spot dispersing flocks of starlings in small spaces. Pro #1 Bird-Gard was designed to repel starlings by emitting distress signals and predator calls that frighten starlings. When the birds detect a “danger,” they warn other starlings nearby to avoid the area.

Avian Control®

Avian Control® is a large-scale starling repellent that we recommend for use on large properties, golf courses, grassy fields, wooded areas, and airplane hangars. This product can be sprayed or fogged on crops. It is an EPA-registered liquid bird repellent that is approved for use on a variety of crops. This humane method of controlling starlings works well without endangering domestic pets, livestock, humans, or birds. Although it is not fatal to birds, it irritates them and deters them from gathering

The best course of action is to stop starlings from roosting on your property before they construct nests, if at all possible. Here are some actions you can take to stop starlings from making their nests or roosts on your property.

1. Eliminate all food sources from the area, which includes pet food containers, unsecured dumpsters, trash cans, livestock feeding equipment, bird feeders, and garbage cans. If you must have a bird feeder, invest in one that is starling proof and stay away from nyler seed, which frequently attracts troublesome birds more than blue jays or other backyard bird species you wish to attract.

2. Seal any openings larger than one inch in diameter to keep starlings out of a building (check all vents, ducts, and windows)

3. Reduce the number of trees on the land so that starlings are less likely to choose it as a roosting place.

4. Put in 1-1/8?? mesh StealthNet exclusion netting on the underside of roof beams in open structures, like hangars for airplanes and livestock sheds.

We can assist if these nuisance birds have already begun to congregate, roost, or build nests on your land. Bird Barrier provides several options aimed at discouraging and driving away starlings.


What problems do starlings cause?

Starlings damage apples, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapes, peaches, and strawberries. Besides causing direct losses from eating fruits, starlings peck and slash at fruits, reducing product quality and increasing the fruits’ susceptibility to diseases and crop pests (Figure 2).

Why do starlings have a bad reputation?

With a population of about 200 million birds in North America, starlings are viewed as not only an invasive species, bullying other birds around feeders and nesting holes, but also as agricultural pests, causing $1.6 billion in damage to fruit and grain crops and spreading disease, says Miller.

Can you get rid of starlings?

In many situations, the best solution for starling problems is prevention with complete exclusion with 1-1/8? mesh netting.) Optical Gel (a full sensory deterrent) Bird-Gard (an audio device that scares starlings) Starling traps (trapping is a last resort.

Do starlings harm other birds?

Starlings seem to primarily target Northern Flickers and other woodpeckers but they have been seen raiding kestrel and screech owl boxes as well. They will also kill smaller songbirds that are nesting in an area with a large enough entrance for them to fit.