A few weeks ago I began seeing more European Starlings around our place. A couple days after that, a large flock descended into the tree tops. Starlings are an invasive species that can cause havoc on native cavity nesting birds. That doesn’t mean they aren’t striking to experience when the sun shines on their iridescent feathers. They are also easy to “shoo” away, as I did with the one below after it landed on the feeder. But, I can’t maintain watch 24/7.
While it’s not nesting season, I didn’t want the Starlings to think this is a great place to consider long-term habitation. They are voracious eaters, with an especially intense motivatation to consume suet. But, the native birds also enjoy suet so I needed to figure out a way to deter the Starlings and still grant the other birds access to the high energy, winter treat.
I acquired a suet feeder which is contained within a cage. It’s actually referred to as a “squirrel proof” feeder, but it also prevents the Starlings from getting to the suet.
When my husband saw the photos I took yesterday, he warned me, “the judgers are going to think you are keeping wild birds confined!” Fortunately, although they are not the best quality images, I was able to catch the birds exiting the highly successful contraption.
I’ve also seen the Tufted Titmouse, White-crowned Sparrows eating within the suet cage. The Mockingbird picked at the fruit that I have in the cage, as well. Success.