Hi - this is my first post here! I'm happy to feed the starlings in my garden, but recently they've taken to eating everything within about 5 minutes of my putting out the food, leaving nothing for the smaller birds and blackbirds. I've been looking at mesh feed protectors online but don't want to spend a lot of money on something that won't work. I wondered about making a mesh guard to go over the food but was worried about making something that might trap or hurt a bird. Does anyone have any tried and tested feeders or ideas? Thank you very much for your help!
I can't comment on supplementary feeding, but just want to highlight that starlings as a UK population are almost certainly suffering more than any other intended recipient of bird food. Small birds like robins, and other larger birds like blackbirds, have multiple broods and 'bouncebackability'. Once starlings are gone, they're gone.
n.b. not having a go. You've said you're happy to feed them. I've just used this thread to raise awareness as others have posted about starling issues previously.
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Hi Margery, we use guardian cages which have an adjustable slider mesh to prevent larger birds (blackbird and upwards) from being able to access the food but not sure how you can prevent starlings (which we don't get in our garden) as the mesh would be large enough, even on small gauge to let them through. I certainly wouldn't use a home created mesh guard unless it has been approved for safety, just in case. Other folk who get starlings in their garden may be able to give more advice about starlings. To be honest, starling numbers have dropped in recent years (from what I understand) and although they can eat you out of house and home they are birds we should consider helping although they really only need supplemenary food during the harsher winter months; having said this I do follow rspb suggestion to feed all year. During breeding season I try to feed live mealworms as they are high in protein for both adult and chicks, however, the starlings would once again be first in to consume the food !
This is the guardian cage I use but as I say, will keep out blackbird size and upwards but not starlings. It was mainly intended to keep grey squirrels out - which it does. I also cut a piece of heavy duty butyl pond liner to cover the pitch roof as that prevents the food from rain/snow, etc.
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