Famously released in New York City’s Central Park in 1890 as a way to introduce North Americans to the animals mentioned in the works of Shakespeare, starlings are an invasive species that now holds a strong presence totaling over 150 million birds. They live mainly in urban settings and flock in large numbers, which causes various problems for crops. Starlings can also spread a number of diseases to humans and other animals.
Short-tailed and typically squat in appearance, starlings appear black or brown with iridescent green feathers around their backs, necks, and breasts. In winter, the plumage is speckled with white spots that replace the greens and purples of spring. The bill is yellow to brownish yellow depending on the season.
More about what a starling looks like.
Distributed throughout the U.S., the starling prefers lowlands and can be found in marshes, forests, and nesting on building rooftops. A hearty species, the pest bird lives in towns, cities, suburbs, and throughout the countryside, though starlings are less common in rural areas. Starlings can be found feeding in gardens or lawns, in fields, and even on sidewalks and parking lots. They have spread beyond their initial range in the United States and now live as far north as Alaska.
Are starlings known to enter homes or yards?
Starlings are indiscriminate feeders and roosters that enter buildings with frequency. Starlings are cavity nesters, so they target spaces such as attics, the protected areas under the eaves of a roof, building rooftops, crevices, and signs. Starlings may account for a lack of other birds in and around neighborhoods, forests, and parks, as they are known to compete for nesting sites. Since they congregate in large numbers, starlings typically win such competitions.
Do starlings harm people or property?
Obnoxious and destructive, starlings can cause considerable damage to both people and property. Given the large size of their flocks, damage to fields is typically considerable and includes the uprooting of new plants and the eating of seeds. Starlings also gather at feeding troughs where they eat and contaminate the food and water. They enter buildings to nest and roost, leaving masses of droppings that corrode building facades and that can also contain various bacterial pathogens. Diseases transferred by starling droppings include blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, and salmonella.
Control and Safety
The best way to implement starling control methods and keep the birds from invading homes is through habitat modification and exclusion. Close off all potential entry points to buildings where the birds may choose to nest or roost. Eliminate foraging areas and water sources. The use of bird netting on the undersides of rafters as well as the thinning of tree branches may also help keep starling populations in check.
Homeowners with a starling infestation can try several exclusion tactics to keep the pests away from buildings and attics. Use bird screens and netting to block chimneys or cover gutters, soffits, and ledges. Other deterrents, such as bird spikes, are also available. Professionals can advise the right starling exclusion method for any property.
Trapping and Removal
As starlings flock in such large numbers, removal should not be attempted without professional assistance. Critter Control wildlife specialists have the training, knowledge, and tools to achieve successful starling removal humanely and efficiently.
We can help you get rid of starling problems. Call today: (509) 443-6757.