Have you been noticing an ever-growing flock of little birds in your yard? These black-and-white speckled starlings are crowding your lawn because they love the insects and larvae they find there. Sometimes you might get lucky, and they’ll find another place to eat and nest, but if starlings decide to stick around and settle near your home or in your roof, they can quickly become a big problem—even a harmful one. Their acidic droppings will eventually damage everything in their path, including your roof and car, and the feces often contain disease-carrying bacteria.
You’re not sure which kind of bird you’re dealing with? The common (European) starling is quite easy to recognize when you know what to look for.
Its shiny black plumage has a green and purplish-red sheen, while the back and belly have white spots. The tail is short and blunt, and the wings, pointed and triangular. The long, thin legs are a pinkish brown color, and the beak is pointed and black during much of the year—during mating season, both male and female beaks are yellow.
But the biggest clue is the size of the flock. Starlings like to congregate in very large groups; needless to say, a flock of thousands of birds is hard to ignore.
Perhaps you haven’t yet come across a cloud of starlings on your own property, but it’s something you’ll want to avoid. These birds can congregate in groups of up to 10,000 at nighttime. There’s no question about it: their huge numbers are the real challenge.
Although birds of prey—such as hawks and turkey vultures—are their main predators, natural predation isn’t enough to control the starling population. Starlings breed so quickly that they can easily replace their losses. In North America, it’s estimated that there are some 200 million starlings.
These birds are opportunistic, and so when they land on a farmer’s fields they quickly plunder crops, orchards and even animal feed. The problem doesn’t end there: their droppings can be infected with viruses that contaminate the natural food sources of country-dwelling animals.
In towns and cities, you see these members of the stumidae family everywhere: in fields and trees, on telephone wires and lawns and in the nooks and crannies of houses.
It is precisely here, in the trees of your yard and in the eaves and exterior vents of your home, that starlings like to nest. In fact, they will love your air-, dryer- and kitchen-fan vents. Females, recognizable by their more speckled plumage, can lay up to seven eggs per brood.
After two weeks, the eggs are ready to hatch. The babies will stay in the nest for about 21 days. During this time, parents travel up to 25 km a day to find food for their hatchlings.
A starling nest just looks like a clump of organic waste, infested with parasites. That is why it’s distressing for homeowners to find several of them in the roof.
If finding a nest around your house isn’t enough, the bird droppings that come with it will probably make you want to find out how have the birds removed or chased off once and for all.
Starling droppings are corrosive and can damage all kinds of surfaces, including buildings and car windshields. Their feces also contain pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious health problems for humans and pets, including:
The loud noise made by large flocks of starlings is such a nuisance that many prevention gimmicks have been developed to keep them away. Here are some tips that we recommend for starlings removal:
If a group of starlings settles into or around your house, keep in mind that the sooner you get rid of them, the easier the job will be. Call our extermination and wildlife control specialists as soon as you notice a problem; this will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
We approach starlings removal with physical barriers, netting and deterrents. We use catch-nets, wire, roof spikes and other effective bird deterrents to catch and remove them or to keep new ones away. We also get rid of nests. This is an important tactic because starlings, which have a life expectancy of 5 years, will attempt to return to a nest to lay their eggs the following spring.
If you have a starling problem, then you’re probably facing a big bird poop mess. We strongly recommend using our professional decontamination service. When it comes to the health of your loved ones, being thorough is worth it.