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Starlings

    Full pressure must be utilized when dealing with an established and overpopulated pest, especially one that lacks any serious concern for people. These birds are just that pest.

    Initially, the starling population must be greatly reduced in order for any exclusion operation to be effective. In my experience, once an animal is established, it will not easily give up its home; consequently, all the hard work and dollars spent to exclude them will be for nothing as they utilize your efforts for perches and roosts. Continuous trapping will eliminate the majority, but shooting is additionally advisable with air rifles when perched or inside the structure, and shotguns for shooting on the wing. As for trapping, the funnel trap is an effective option, which claims to hold twenty to thirty starlings. I believe that many could fit in there, but my experience has shown that after a few starlings are trapped, they must be released for more starlings to feel comfortable entering. I am not sure if it is their intelligence, since many are still drawn to the trap; I lean more toward the feeling that it is a concept of space occupancy by the flock itself. Nevertheless, funnel traps work but need monitoring to assist with their efficiency. The same ideal pertains to the bob trap as well. Now the ladder trap, however, will capture more at a time, but then again it is greater in size, and there is the incredible difficulty of wrangling the birds. An effective means is to just get in there and work the hand net, one at a time. Another option to incorporate is a large net draped in their flight path, which works well with captures, and a pocket at the bottom will contain them until gathered by hand. Now as for shooting, like I stated in other pages, only the mature, responsible, and experienced should consider the option. Be honest with yourself to be certain about the safety of everyone within range of projectiles. If at all unsure, hire a professional to shoot the starlings, get lots of training and practice, or forego this option and focus heavily on multiple trapping methods. Altogether, the starling population can be mostly eliminated with some costs and a lot of attention, but this step is important since the birds will put even more attention toward overcoming the exclusion work.

    Secondly, it is important to remove as many sources of food and water that is possible. Care must be taken with food sources made available, such as pets and/or any discard. As far as water goes, it is advisable to make water in the horse’s troughs too deep for the birds to stand in, and too far from the rim for them to reach. inasmuch, it is good to monitor any possible provisions to the starlings, any handout will attract these pests to your area.

    Exclusion procedures include blocking access points; wire mesh for small openings and netting for the larger ceiling areas. Draperies can be utilized in large doorways, or if more finance allows, screened doors can be operated with the tug of a string or press of a button. Large plastic flaps work well for entering and exiting buildings with machinery, while keeping the starlings out. Light homemade doors and windows can be made out of netting and wooden frames. You can decide what is most convenient for you, and be creative toward keeping the starlings from getting in.

    Dissuasion is yet another means for making an area less appealing to the starlings, and removing perches is a good way of doing it. For roosting ledges, place forty-five degree, or greater, angles. If posts are available, cones rolled out of copper make perching as difficult as the spikes do. A more elaborate operation is the installation of electrical conductors to roosting and perching sites. When the bird lands on the electric tape, it completes the circuit and gets zapped! And there is also a polybutene (sticky) substance that can be applied to perching surfaces with a caulking gun, which is only effective until a layer of dust coats the substance, rendering it ineffective. Another dissuasion technique is the judicial use of enemy tactics; owls, hawks, cats, and snakes will cause these birds to feel unwelcome; of course, they do not need to be real, but they do need to be rotated on a regular basis to appear threatening. If you desire the real thing a fixed and frisky feline could roam your barn on a series of catwalks.

    You can certainly control these starlings so that you are not overrun. Incorporating at least one operation from each procedure will prove effective, but you will definitely get out of this what you put in. Nonetheless, once you have them under control, you must keep food and water from them, and continue to keep a few forms of pressure established; such as, rotating raptors, employing a catwalk, always having a trap in operation, keep an air rifle handy, and maintaining your exclusion apparatus. 

    
Feel free to contact C.H. Animal Control to either assist or perform control operations if you are having issues with a colony of European starlings, even English sparrows or other nuisance birds for that matter. 

                                    This Photo shows three starlings effectively captured in a funnel trap.



                                        Here I've gotten a few European starlings on the wing.                                                      
                                  An effective supplement to various methods applied for control.


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