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Birds come in many different shapes and sizes, each bringing with them their own unique set of challenges and concerns. Though there are many different types of birds that some will watch as a hobby, it is safe to say that the starling is not one of them.
Starlings are small birds that can permeate garages and barns on a regular basis. Even worse, they will keep the birds that you want to see – martins and bluebirds – away from your yard because they are incredibly protective of their food and nests.
So, when you notice that starlings are beginning to permeate your barn and the yard in general, it is important to be able to get rid of them so that you can enjoy the presence of friendlier, less invasive birds.
Why Starlings Aren’t Something You Want to Have Around
Though starlings generally aren’t the type of bird to cause property damage or destroy plants, they do have their downsides. As mentioned above, they will chase away friendlier birds such as blue jays from the area.
Starlings are very protective of their food sources and won’t allow any other type of bird into the area. Not only that, if a flock of starlings find your yard to be an abundant source of food, they can be difficult to get rid of.
Additionally, starlings can be quite the carriers of disease. This is primarily because they move in flocks and the more birds there are, the more waste that you have to contend with. Starlings have been known to contribute to histoplasmosis, which is a fungal disease that gets carried through the air.
They also carry cryptococcosis, another type of fungal infection that has an impact on the pulmonary system. Another disease that they carry, salmonellosis, involves contaminated food. All of these are found in the dried droppings of starlings.
If that weren’t enough, starlings have also been known to transmit chicken mites and bedbugs from one location to the next. These parasites can and will bite people, creating infestations that are all their own.
Finally, there have been cases where a starling that has West Nile virus has been bitten by a mosquito. That mosquito could then transfer the disease to humans when bitten.
So, to put it lightly, starlings are a dangerous thing to have around because their droppings in particular carry a plethora of diseases that can majorly impact humans.
How to Keep Them Out of the Barn
Even though people love to bird watch, starlings are one kind of bird that you don’t want to have around. When it comes to their food, they can be quite protective and try to keep other birds from coming to that specific area.
Not only that, but starlings can spread diseases whenever they come around. This is because they travel in flocks and the more birds that permeate an area means more droppings that could carry disease.
Having a barn means that starlings are far more likely to try to make it their home. Barns provide shelter from predators and the weather, making it an ideal landing spot.
The bad thing about starlings is that they are small enough that they can get into your barn through very small holes. The first thing that you should do is walk the perimeter of the barn and locate any possible points of entry. Seal those off to keep the starlings (and other creatures) from being able to get inside.
The next thing to do is to cut off their food sources. Store any pet or bird seed in an airtight container so that they cannot easily access it.
When you cut off the starling’s source of water, food, and shelter, you give them no choice but to find a new place to hang out.
Basic Tips for Protecting Structures From Starlings
While barns are one of the favorite locations of starlings, they have been known to get into any structure that they can to find food and shelter. The first thing that you need to do is to completely bird-proof the interior of your barn, garage, or other structure.
Starlings in particular can be quite determined to build their nests, even after they have been removed or completely destroyed. It is important that you don’t kill any of these birds because it is illegal to harm nests when there are eggs or babies inside.
The best measure for keeping starlings (and other birds) away is to take preventative measures. Make sure that you clean up any spilled oats, seeds, grains, wheat, and other food sources from nearby the barn, shed, or garage.
If you have bird feeders, start by keeping them 15 feet or so away from your structure and keep them clean on a regular basis.
Any feed that you have to store outside should be kept in an airtight container. Birds will peck through inadequate storage containers, so simply closing the bag isn’t enough. Remember, you want to cut off their food source so that they are forced to find a new location.
For barns in particular, it is important that you keep an eye on water levels for any animals living inside. Make sure that it is not deep enough for the birds to stand in but not so deep that they can perch nearby to drink the water.
When you’ve bird-proofed the interior of the structure, it is now time to move to the exterior. Determined birds such as starlings can find ways into the structure, set up their nests, and make your structure their home.
For barns in particular, it is a good idea to hang thick, long plastic strips in your doorways to keep the birds from flying in. Any openings to vents, lofts, or eaves should be blocked off using metal, wood, wire mesh, or glass.
The undersides of your rafters should be covered as well. Use some kind of netting to provide proper airflow without providing the necessary space for the starlings to make their way inside.
It is also important to walk the exterior of the building to make sure there are no small points of entry that they can use to get inside.
Birds and cats are natural enemies. If you notice that you have a starling issue (or an issue with any other type of bird), mitigate their presence by using a house or barn cat. The presence of a cat should be enough to scare the birds away and all it takes is one bird to be caught to set an example for the others.
Dogs can work just as well, though they tend to not be as aggressive toward birds as barn cats can be. Still, the presence of a predator can be enough to dispel the birds from returning to your barn.
Whatever method that you take, it is important to keep starlings from permeating your barn or garage. They are annoying at best and carry a plethora of diseases at worst.
Taking preventative measures is the easiest way of dealing with them as they can be quite persistent when they’ve established themselves in the structure.
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