Starling Problems

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Large flocks create problems in industrial and retail buildings, business centers, homes, farms and even airports. Starling Problems in greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Starlings are a familiar sight in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area with large flocks swooping and soaring over homes, businesses and farmlands. While these aerial acrobatics can be fascinating, these massive flocks can become more than a nuisance. Large flocks create problems in industrial and retail buildings, business centers, homes, farms and even airports. Messy and noisy, starlings can create unsightly and unsanitary conditions as they roost and nest. Massive flocks of starlings can cause problems to farmers as they scour crops, damage fruit trees and deplete livestock feed supplies. Homeowners can have problems when starlings find a nesting spot in any small opening. These aggressive birds are even known to drive out native songbirds and woodpeckers by taking over nesting sites.

European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are not native to the United States but were introduced in New York in 1890. They now number in the hundreds of millions and can be found from coast to coast and from city to farm. These stocky birds are generally glossy black with purplish and greenish iridescence. They are comfortable around people finding good shelter and abundant food sources near our farms, homes and businesses.They prefer insects but will also feed on garbage, fruits, seed, grains and the occassional lizard. Starlings are cavity nesters and will use any suitably sized opening from a small opening in the eaves of your home to bluebird houses and woodpecker nests.

What type of damage can occur?

Problems are typically associated with massive gatherings of roosting and nesting starlings including damage to trees, buildings, and crops. Droppings can quickly accumulate causing unsanitary, unsightly and unsafe conditions. Bird droppings are corrosive and can damage stone, metal, car finishes and masonry. Nests built in machinery, drainage pipes and other available building spaces can damage property, create fire hazards and spread unsanitary nesting materials. In agricultural areas, flocks of starlings cause significant damage to crops harvesting seeds and young plants. They will also take advantage of feed lots and can actually cause significant depletion of feed supplies. Large flocks can also be a danger to aircraft when active near airports.

Do starlings carry disease?

Yes. Starlings, and their droppings, can present a health hazard to people, pets and livestock. Although typically a problem only with large accumulations of droppings, diseases can be transferred from starling droppings including histoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis, encephalitis and more. Always exercise caution when dealing with bird droppings.

Starlings also play host to ticks, fleas, mites and lice. These parasites can infest buildings, which can then be transferred to people and animals.

How can a starling problem be controlled?

Many of the problems created by starlings stem from their abundance which makes control of these large flocks difficult. No single approach can solve a nuisance starling problem. A typical control plan may include some or all of the following:

  • Control of roosting and nesting sites by installing structural barriers such as netting, electrified wires, wire screening, etc.
  • Use of sound and visual deterrents such as noisemakers, balloons and flagging
  • Control of food sources, particulary important in feedlots

Other approaches can include repellents, toxicants and even trapping. Successful management plans will differ depending on the situation, with a livestock facility needing a much different control plan than an industrial building or retail store.

The Most Effective Solution….

If your Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky business, municipality, or farm is having problems with starlings, steps can be taken to eliminate the trouble. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your starling nuisance problem.


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