About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Loud birds in the morning

European Starling adult next to his baby
Baby starlings have arrived! Not something most people anticipate eagerly. These large gray baby starlings are noisy and pushy. But the good news is that each bird will eat hundreds of insects a day (once they figure out what's what). Every evening I come home, fill the feeders and watch the show.

The giant little baby starlings were patrolling the lawn for food. One found a dried leaf, picked up this "prize" and ran with it while his siblings chased after, jumped him and discovered it was just a leaf. But they must be finding bugs too because our yard is a bug-free zone.

The abundance of baby starlings make them easy prey too. A hawk took one away last night. I saw a hawk leave my yard with a baby starling squawking in its grasp. The whole flock of starlings and a Blue Jay took off after the hawk so I don't know the ending of the story. But about 5 minutes later the flock was back in my yard looking for lawn bugs.

While I love all the activity, I know most normal people don’t. So what can you do to deter the starlings and blackbirds, but still attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, and all the other less boisterous backyard birds?

Feeder Choices
  • Squirrel Buster Plus- This feeder is guaranteed Squirrel and large bird proof. You can exclude large nuisance birds with this feeder by rolling in the perches to make them short. You can also adjust the tension on the spring mechanism to have the feeder ports shut when large birds land. Blackbirds weigh twice as much as cardinals.
  • Upside Down Suet Feeder- a feeder that dispenses suet from the bottom doesn’t phase a woodpecker but will deter most blackbirds.
  • Finch Feeders- I’ve never had a problem with the blackbirds on any finch feeders that are filled with straight nyjer thistle seed.
Food Choices
  • Use pure beef suet with no seeds
  • Switch to straight safflower seed: Start by offering safflower gradually, mixing it with the seed you currently use. Over time increase the amount of safflower until you are feeding straight safflower. The seed looks and tastes different from other bird seed, so it may take your birds some time to adjust. Safflower is a small, white seed that is high in protein and fat. Many favorite backyard birds - including cardinals, chickadees, finches, doves, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches- savor safflower. Blackbirds, starlings, and squirrels refuse to eat safflower seed typically.
Related Articles:
· What are those birds that sit on the wires? http://bit.ly/y608rz
· Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/rSQtFD
· How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
· What birds like Safflower seed? http://bit.ly/w3ZBGa
· What do grackles eat? http://bit.ly/xBhX3j

1 comment:

Somerset Wedding Girl said...

I had a friend who used to get very angry at this bird who lived outside his window because it was so loud! It's great that you have a slightly more positive attitude to it though, and baby starlings are so cute!