Starling proofing recommendations?

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.

  • Sorry you haven't had a response re your question.

    Bumped so people who feed birds get another chance to see and respond to your post.
  • Sorry no one has got back to you Margery. The starlings certainly know when food is out. I have had a quick look at some cages/covers and all the ones I can find will let Starlings through. I would suggest not making something from mesh, just in case it may cause harm.

    A lady called Hazel who is on here may be able to help, as she has a big garden and feeds many different birds and squirrels, she may be able to help.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • 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. 


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Hi Margery, are you ground feeding or using hanging feeders? I know people have used upturned hanging baskets to create a cage over ground feeders that allowed Wrens and Robins and other small birds to access. For the tube hangers a bit of DIY - it's not an attractive solution but you can create a sleeve from a water bottle. Chop as much of the base off the bottle so that it covers about 3/4 of the tube put some wire on the handle so you can feed it through the mouth of the bottle to create a new hanger, it slows the starlings down in emptying the feeders. I'd also throw seed out for them on the grass so that they are foraging as well


    Cin J

  • Hi Margery.
    I recently purchased a small guardian from rspb for £19.99that hangs over feeder and this has stopped the starlings getting to the food. They do try but haven’t succeeded! (I have another feeder just for them)
    It’s lovely to see the blue tits and robin finally enjoy their meal. Hope this helps