“Curses, Foiled Again!”


I love feeding the birds and I even love watching squirrels trying to eat from my feeders. Their antics can make me smile no matter my previous moods. However, I tire of starlings taking over my feeders and pushing away the birds such as nuthatches, goldfinches, and tufted titmice, seen in the above promotional photo . Last month I invested(truly–it was expensive) in a Squirrel Buster feeder. It attracted me because of the little perches which allow access to the feed through small openings in the feeder. These perches, weight sensitive, pull the feeder over the openings when a larger bird or squirrel lands there. The accompanying brochure listed the weights of various birds, and I was cautiously optimistic that starlings were too heavy to feed at it.

Starlings, an invasive species here, fight aggressively with each other and all other birds. They can empty out a feeder in record time. But despite the repeated attempts of various starlings to access the tasty tidbits in this new feeder, they were all unable to eat a thing. I think the word must have spread among the thieves, since they no longer try to feed there. Sadly they still try to eat all the suet cakes set out for the three varieties of woodpeckers which frequent our yard. For the time being I have stopped using those treats.

As I gloated over my success, I could hear Dudley Do-Right cheering and Snidely Whiplash moaning:


35 thoughts on ““Curses, Foiled Again!”

  1. The starlings kill Bluebirds. They are not protected and we have actually had people suggest we kill them. Lucky we have not had them at our feeder.


  2. I mostly put food out on the grass. I don’t mind when a huge group of Starlings descends and eats it all. They are still birds, after all, and they don’t often seek out our garden. We have some local Blackbird families, and they are tame enough to come for the food when I am still throwing it around. The Wood Pigeons eat the most of it though, bullying the smaller birds out of the way. The Robins, Wrens, and Sparrows wait until all the bigger birds have left, then enjoy the crumbs they have left behind.
    (We never get squirrels in the garden, too many local cats)
    Best wishes, Pete.


  3. I get quite a variety of birds in our yard but rarely any starlings. I mainly feed the hummingbirds; the others are content with whatever they find in our trees, shrubs and garden beds. And they all love the birdbaths and ‘stream.’


  4. We have had tits and wagtails and finches feeding from our bird feeders all winter – and for the past few years. Even a vast cloud of starlings in the area last year didn’t shift them, but since we’ve been away, our small birds have all disappeared – not one has come to our re-filled feeders. There aren’t even any starlings around this year to frighten them off, but we do have a thriving community of sparrowhawks in the area and the odd kestrel. I don’t recall them abandoning us so completely in the past.
    We’re kind of hoping they found another source of food in our absence and are staying close to that, but it seems spooky that we don’t see one when they were filling our briar rose such a short time ago.


    1. I hope they haven’t all been meals for the hawks. I find it takes birds longer to return when I have neglected the feeders for a time in the summer. I guess they have a lot of wild things available then. I love the name wagtails, and have looked them up to see what they look like.

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  5. We have never seen a starling here which surprised me a lot intitially. But I suppose they are urbanites. We do have major squirrel and magpie issues. I’ve recently made a cage for a feeder from two wire hanging baskets fastened together to make a sphere. With some experimentation in wiring up the gaps to the correct size I seem to have thwarted the squirrels and the magpies whilst allowing the smaller birds access. Woodpeckers can still access too thanks to their long beaks.

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    1. We don’t have magpies. The starlings were introduced to the U.S. by some well meaning sort. They are invasive here. I like your solution. My husband is forever designing cages to keep the squirrels from digging up bulbs. Often we find the cages scattered on the ground, emptied of their bulbs.


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