do starlings attack other birds

European starlings can be one of the least wanted backyard birds but also one of the most challenging to get rid of. Backyard birders who want to get rid of starlings dont have to give up, however, and it is possible to make a yard less starling-friendly without driving away other feathered guests.

Ice Pick like beak of a female European Starling. This bird was photographed inside a woodpecker nest box; Ralph Tanner provided the image.

A female House Sparrow is defended from her nesting area by an Eastern Bluebird female. Photo courtesy of sialis. org, David Kinneer.

Earth damage caused by feral hogs. Photo taken by Billy Higginbotham, Texas Agrilife Extension Service, Bugwood. org.

Similar to house swallows, tree swallows nest in areas typically close to water and are frequently attacked by house sparrows. Though they might not be as well-known as the Bluebird, they are also a lovely natural pest controller.

Both Eurasian House Sparrows and European Starlings are fierce cavity nesting birds. To take control of the nest, they will savagely attack and murder native cavity nesters and their young. Starlings have been observed robbing kestrel and screech owl boxes, but their apparent primary prey is Northern Flickers and other woodpeckers. Additionally, they will destroy smaller songbirds that are building their nests in places with enough room for them to fit through.

Why Starlings Can Be a Problem

Turnus vulgaris, commonly known as common or European starlings, are invasive in many parts of the world and can quickly become a severe nuisance even in their native range. However, why are these gregarious, adaptive, and energetic birds considered so undesirable?

  • Noise: Starlings lack the sense of musical harmony that would otherwise make their vocal repertoire of loud, raspy screeches and squawks more aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to vocalizations, both adults and juveniles have the ability to be persistent and prolong the noise for extended periods of time.
  • Flocks: Starlings are highly gregarious and form large flocks year-round. Hundreds or thousands of starlings may gather in flocks during the breeding season, even though many birds are inherently territorial and solitary. Such vast flocks have the potential to quickly overrun a bird feeding station and steal food from any other visiting birds, severely reducing the funds allocated for bird feeding.
  • Aggression: These are inherently violent birds that will not think twice to harm or even kill other birds in their quest for the best places to nest and eat. This has had a severe impact on the populations of several native North American birds, including eastern bluebirds and purple martins, and it can wipe out more timid bird species.
  • Fertility: Starlings reproduce quickly and prolifically; each year, a single mated pair raises two to three broods, each of which yields five to eight new starlings for the flock. Due to their rapid population growth, starlings may soon surpass native species, creating fierce competition for the few resources available.
  • Starlings’ preferred habitats are open, grassy spaces, so parks, golf courses, sports fields, and suburban lawns are great places for them to live. Because of this preference, they become closer to bird houses and feeders even faster, which enables them to monopolize resources intended for other bird species.

do starlings attack other birds

Keeping Starlings Out of the Yard

While some birdwatchers choose not to remove starlings, those who do have several ways to deter these aggressive birds. Making starlings’ lives difficult can be simple, and these sly birds will soon find safer, more fruitful habitats.

If starlings are a problem in your yard, try:

  • Restrictive Feeders: Choose feeders with mesh cages or comparable barriers to keep starlings out. Starlings find tube feeders with clinging mesh designs or extremely short perches to be less comfortable. Additionally, since starlings are less nimble and cannot fit under a dome as easily, domed feeders can help deter them. Steer clear of big, open feeders that give ravenous starling flocks easy access, like hoppers or platforms.
  • Select Foods Carefully: Since starlings enjoy suet, leftover kitchen scraps, and cracked corn, removing these items from a backyard buffet will reduce the amount of options available to them to try. Even though whole peanuts, safflower seed, nectar, and nyjer seed are much less appealing to starlings, they will still draw a variety of other ravenous bird species.
  • Eliminate Additional Food Sources: Starlings can completely destroy an orchard or garden because they will sample a wide range of natural foods. Starlings can be deterred by covering fruit-bearing trees and shrubs with netting, and windfall fruits should be collected and thrown to prevent birds from accessing this convenient food source. Spilled seed that starlings might taste can be removed by cleaning beneath hanging feeders. Moreover, take care to cover compost pile leftovers and remove any pet food left outside that might attract starlings.
  • Pruning trees can make starlings feel less at home and may even drive larger flocks of the birds to look for refuge elsewhere if they are roosting in the yard. Even in a severely pruned tree, smaller bird species that roost alone or in small flocks will still feel safe.
  • Restrict Nesting: Starlings require an entrance hole of 1. 5″ in diameter to access a birdhouse. In order to prevent starlings from entering your birdhouses, fix any large openings and reduce their size. In addition, cover any openings in pipes, vents, and other crevices that could be attractive to starlings looking to build a nest. Use tiny gauge mesh to do this. Since starlings are not protected in many places, it is possible to remove and destroy their nests and eggs as desired.
  • Employ Sound Repellents: A loud noise can rapidly entice a group of starlings to leave when they pay a visit. You can deter them, at least temporarily, by going outside and chasing them away with banging or yelling, or by using recorded hawk calls or other predator sounds.

To get the best results, discourage starlings with a variety of methods and switch them up frequently to prevent the birds from growing accustomed to a particular deterrent.

do starlings attack other birds

FAQ

Will starlings eat 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.

Are starlings bully birds?

Starlings. These boisterous birds are known to be one of the more aggressive bully birds, chasing smaller, and even larger birds like owls and woodpeckers, away from birdhouses and feeders. Starlings love suet and can eat an entire suet cake in a single day, which can start to cost you a pretty penny.

Are starlings destructive birds?

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).

What bird scares off starlings?

Scare Tactics Hawks are a natural predator of starlings. Use the Hawk Decoy in gardens, patios, balconies and other open spaces to scare sparrows away. To deter or disperse starlings from trees, use the Bird Chase Super Sonic, a weatherproof sound deterrent designed for large open spaces.