HELP ! Too many Starlings

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HELP ! Too many Starlings

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I am disabled and I get immense joy from attracting and feeding wild birds.Everything from red legged partridge to house sparrows. However, my wild bird food bill is now over £100 per week as I have hundreds and hundreds of starlings coming to my garden. All the finches, sparrows, robins, yellowhammers etc aren't getting a look in as the starlings are like locusts!! I am getting into debt and need advice on how to limit the number of starlings. I had the same problem last year and I am still paying the credit card bill for the  extra feed from 2009. PLEASE help me to limit this problem as all the joy has gone out of this pastime and it is costing way too much. Thank you.

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  • Goodness gracious!

    When you said you had some birds I did not realise you meant so many!!!!

    I would be lucky to see this amount in several years.

    my count today has been

    bluetit 1

    blackbird 1

    great tit 1 (rare for me!)

    starlings 3

    wood pigeon 2

    and thats the lot!

    I am so envious.

    Rachel

  • My first comment would be - LUCKY YOU!

     

    And I am not being sarcastic.

    I feed garden birds with 5 feeders and 2 baths, never ever had starlings even though my next door neighbour has dozens. I do love those beautiful birds, very chatty and just lovely to look at - I'd love them in my garden.

    My advice would be to buy a guardian or some sort of cage thing for the feeders to prevent starlings, and put out some scraps for starlings to still enjoy - they eat almost anytihng.

    Please just remember that starlings are declining very badly and they need all our help we can give them - so you can't just hate them, and they are ever so beautiful when they're in flocks and makes a swirling pattern in the sky!

  • Hi Birdy Girl - wow, I have always said that I have a sign above my garden saying ...' Mug lives here' as I seem to get all sorts of things visiting .... but you must have a bigger sign ( only joking ).  It is lovely to think that they all feel happy visiting your garden.  My simple birdie fat balls/cake..... all I do is melt a load of lard .... then buy either the cheap muesli from Sainsburys or value porridge from Tesco and mix it in until most of the lard is soaked up but it is stil mushy then add a bit of flour as this seems to hold it together better then put cling film into those square plastic containers and pile it in. Then pop it in the fridge.  Make sure you press it down well so it is solid.  It can always be cut up into appropriate sized pieces for the feeders .....Have just made up 20 pks of lard. This is what I use when all the starlings are about but once that has calmed down a bit I add sunflower seeds, raisins, peanuts (grind them up in an old coffee grinder), infact any bits that are not perishable. Most birds seem to enjoy it - the feeders are always empty:)  Happy cooking :)x  PS down here the cheapest lard is in Tesco's 28p - the co-op charge 47p for the same thing!

  • Thanks to everyone for all the tips. I do love the starlings by the way, its just that I get overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. I am rurally situated and the land around here is very flat. I sometimes think there must be a special communication that goes on between all the birds when there  are so many that seem to find their way here.

    I will buy some lard tomorrow and have a go at the Lardy Cakes. Plus, can someone help re the advice to give Bacon Rind. Are you supposed to cook it first or give it raw? Plus should it be cut up or left in strips? The windfall apples are going a treat, so it must save on seed. Also, would it help if I mixed some cheap small raisins from Morrisons in with the seed? Which birds eat raisins? Plus, regarding rice, does it have to be cooked or can I mix that in with the seed as well?  I cooked some plain white rice the other day and it soon went, but I missed which birds liked it. Sorry that there's so many questions, but you guys are so helpful. Its like consulting a friendly advice centre!

    I wish I could invite you all to tea and then you could enjoy observing all the birds at the same time. Perhaps we should save to hire a mini bus!!!!! 

    Thanks again. I look forward to receiving your advice. I am so grateful.

    Lots of love, Birdy Girl. 

  • For the lard cake - leave the lard in room temperature for a while(but don't melt it) and mix it with whatever birds eat(seeds, cheese, bread etc. But my mum didn't like it when I mixed dried mealworms in the mixing bowl!!) with your fingers. When mixed, you can push it in a yoghurt pot with a string on it, or(more attractive) a pine cone. Little birds which can cling onto stuff like tits and sparrows, also woodpeckers will appreciate them. Just a tip - if it's good weather and quite warm and the lard is still squidgy and soft, put it in the fridge for 30 mins or so before putting it up.

    Bacon rinds - I'm not an expert on this as I never really give them, but I think raw or cooked would do - but when I once put it out raw, it attracted corvids which you may not want. Don't leave them too long as it can attract rats I've heard.

    Apples - great to hear that birds love your apples! Remember that birds aren't fussy - they'll eat not ripen of starting-to-go-off apples!

    Birds do love raisins - it will attract tits, sparrows etc. Just check if it's processed - some processed raisins can contain chemicals such as sulphates which can be harmful to birds.

    With the rice - they must be cooked. Don't feed them salted rice as salt is bad for them, but any cooked rice leftover(from yesterday's tea!) can be fed to them.

     

    Aahh, wish I could go around to yours and see the birds you have! It's amazing you got pheasants and red-legged partidges - I haven't even SEEN a red legged partidge before, eventhough they're meant to be so common!

  • Birdy Girl

    Dear Ray,

    Thanks so much for your advice and understanding. It terrible when you love wild life so much and live on a limited income. I bought the cages that you suggested previously. It took the starlings only 2 days before they worked out if they squeeze their heads in first and really squeeze their bodies they can get into the feed !!!! Its funny watching them try to get out as they seem to lose the knack of squeezing through once they have filled their bellies !! I am going to have to be firm with myself as it's not even winter yet, and I cant get into debt and not feed them when it snows. So thanks for caring. Take care and I will follow your advice.

    Hi Birdy Girl

    I appreciate your starling problem as I've had it myself. Starlings absolutely, definitely can't get into these Guardian feeders. There are several styles and you might possibly find one at your local garden centre cheaply.

     

  • oooooh 2 sugaars please birdy girl! dont worry about asking so many questions, thats what this forum is here for! ive been on here a wee while and asked loads, some probably stupid q's but they are a great bunch, so patient helpful and knowledgable, so enjoy and welcome! paul.

  • Good morning Birdie Girl,

    Good luk with the cooking:) Have not fed bird rind to the birds but would think that raw and chopped into small pieces would be best as there will be more fat left in it and I would be worried about them choking on long pieces might be wrong though.  Only ever seen one Partridge a few years ago but have loads of Pheasants just up the road at my parents (rural). Charlie, Freddie and Suzy make wonderful alarms in the morning - stand outside the bedroom window shouting until they are fed lol - if you call them at any time of day one of them is sure to appear. Don't know what you feed them but you can get mixed chicken corn quite cheaply at agricultural merchants or perhaps a local farmer may be able to sell you some cheaply.  What time is tea being served ......I will bring some scones:)

  • Hi Birdy Girl

    I can fully understand your problem as my own feeders did get hijacked by the Starlings all the time. They also stop all other birds feeding when they were there.

    The answer I found was on my feeder stands was to put the bird food and the sunflower heart in feeders without trays on the bottom and only small perches for the bids to stand on. I only use a tray on the nyger seeds as the Starlings don't eat them and the Goldfinches make such a mess the I take the nyger seeds from the tray and put back into the feeder. This saves on waste of all the seeds falling on the ground.

    I do not put any fat trays or balls on the feeder stand but place these in another part of the garden and limit the amount I put out. This keeps the Starling numbers down but still allows me to see them and allows the other birds to feed.

    Last of all you can always feed the birds the kitchen waste food. here is a link to a site with a breakdown of what they like to eat: -

    http://birding.about.com/od/birdfeeders/a/kitchenscraps.htm

    You could also request your neighbours to save their waste as well.

    Hope this helps and please, please don't get into debt over this as there are other ways to do this.  

    Robert