Starling Habits and Preferences
Starlings prefer to nest in cavities; these areas can be inside of the vents on a residential home, in churches, in businesses, in supermarkets, and other areas that can provide a void that offers the starling and its’ family protection from potential predators (and the elements). Starlings are generally very social, and will usually travel in groups of various sizes throughout the year. They are also capable of mimicking sounds that they encounter in their environment, including bells and car alarms.
Starlings can be a very structurally damaging bird. The most common area that we see as a potential nesting site in the Pacific Northwest is inside of soffit vents on a residential home. Once the starlings get inside, they will nest and raise their young. Fowl mites can become common in these nesting sites, which can come down into the living space and cause unpleasant bites on humans. They will often pull out insulation and thoroughly contaminate the void area that they have chosen for their nest with their droppings. Starling droppings can carry gastroenteritis virus (TGE), which can be communicable to humans. Starling droppings can also carry a fungal respiratory disease known as histoplasmosis.
Biology of Starlings
Starlings are a very common bird in the Pacific Northwest, and their numbers seem to be growing each year. Starlings can vary in size from 15 to 36 centimeters (depending on the species of starling). Their diet consists primarily of fruit and insects. The coloration of starlings can also vary greatly, though there is a strong presence of brightly colored plumage in many groups. Starlings have very strong feet, and their flight patterns are usually short and direct.
Starling Control Measures & Prevention
Starlings, like pigeons and sparrows, are not specifically protected by the federal government. In such cases where starling control becomes necessary, small exclusionary netting or screening can be used to seal off areas where starlings have attempted to nest. Ledge deterrents such as spikes or an electrical shock system may be employed. Repellents are also available for control of starlings, and there are products that can be applied at or near nesting areas to help control the possible presence of fowl mites. If you have a starling problem, contact a professional company like Pioneer Pest to devise a strategy for your specific situation.