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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.

Starling Control

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris


Starling Call


  • Similar to that caused by House Sparrows
  • Eat fruit crops,
  • Replace native woodpeckers
  • Health hazard to livestock.

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Seal 1 inch openings
  • Plastic flaps on hangar doors
  • Prune trees where starlings roost

Frightening Devices & Repellents

Jerrold Belant, Paul Woronecki, Richard Dolbeer, and Thomas Seamans published a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin 1998 26(2): 264-268. Entitled "Ineffectiveness of five commercial deterrents or nesting starlings". Essentially their study took a 81 nesting boxes and tested the effectiveness of phenethyl alcohol, eye spots, magnetic fields and effigies. Essentially, they found that none of these products worked. However, you may want to know that starlings can smell. There were a few caveats to their conclusion.

First, they theorized that the products may have worked if they were tested on an area that the starlings were not as attracted too. Housing is a pretty desirable asset. In Bird Barrier terms, housing is a high pressure site. They also wondered if the deterrent devices were used in combinations, whether the results would have been better.

  • Visual repellents are unlikely to be very successful as starlings are very tolerant.
  • Tactile repellents can be effective.
  • Chemical fogger--used to disperse bird roosts. The fog repellent uses the same principal ingredient as grape soda and bubble gum, which is distasteful to starlings and causes them to move elsewhere. (Source INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ Jan 15, 2003) While I hear it has been very effective, interested individuals should consider the possible fall out when/if the fog is pushed by the wind into a residential area or a crowd of people.


  • Nest box or decoy traps can be effective for small populations.


  • Use #8 shot and follow all safety and legal requirements


  • Avitrol--restricted use pesticide
  • Starlicide Complete--restricted use pesticide
  • DRC-1339--- Only available for use by USDA-Wildlife Services Personnel.


Legal Issues

Starlings are not federally protected because they are not native to North America.

Living With Starlings

Starlings as an invasive species should not be encouraged to live in the U.S.A.

Publications & Resources

Starlings--Michigan State University HTML

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