May 14, 2022 at 7:21 pm #24391
Good news and bad news.
Good news is we have 3 baby bluebirds in the BB house!
Bad news is there is a nosy starling poking his head inside, many times per day. Sometimes he perches on top of the house. It’s quite rude, and the bluebirds don’t like it, at all.
So we bought a “Bird Guardian.” It’s a small plastic tube, a few inches long, that fits over the top of the entrance to the house. We installed it today, and the BB mom and dad struggled to get inside. Finally, the female made it, but the male couldn’t figure out how to wriggle inside. So I removed it, per the instructions, which say to try again the next day.
Has anyone tried the Bird Guardian, and how did it go? I think the starling won’t like it, so I’m inclined to keep trying to get the bluebirds used to it. But would appreciate any advice / opinions!May 14, 2022 at 9:55 pm #24394
Starlings are not a protected species and are fair game for trapping or other means of ridding them from your yard, nestbox, etc. I use my pellet rifle to “scare them away”. Haven’t seen many this year.
Stafford, VAMay 15, 2022 at 9:32 pm #24399SkyonitsbackParticipant
I had bad luck using a bird guardian: it was back when my bluebirds were still looking for a box, but it spooked them. I think it makes it hard for them to “reach” (i.e., feed) their young. So I think you were smart to take it off.May 15, 2022 at 10:36 pm #24400JulieParticipant
Stebet, how big is the hole on your box? Supposedly starlings can’t get into the 1.5-inch hole prescribed for bluebird houses. If the hole is larger, could you possibly make a hole reducer and use duct tape to hole it in place and effectively exclude the starling? I saw a hole reducer where the guy used copper sheeting and held it on with electrical tape. In a pinch like this, I’ve made them from plastic lids, like you’d find on a can of nuts or oatmeal tub.
Does fishing line keep starlings away? You could try on the top of the box in an X. I really dislike starlings. Btw the one time I used a bird guardian, the box ended up being occupied by house wrens!May 16, 2022 at 8:17 am #24405
Hi friends. The opening is 1.5 inches. I’ve seen the starling poke his head inside, but I don’t think he can fit inside. So that’s good. We’ve tried fishing line, and ribbons, and the starlings don’t pay any attention to it.
It might be wise to give up on the Guardian attachment. The female has figured it out, but the male just flutters around the opening, and he gives up.
The BB house is mounted on top of a fence post. I just noticed, elsewhere on this site, that it’s not recommended to do that, and instead the house should be mounted on a metal pole, with a baffle. Is that what you do?May 16, 2022 at 10:11 am #24407
Stebet, a wooden fence post allows predators such as cats, squirrels, racoons, snakes, etc. to climb the post to get to the nestbox. Several contributors have mentioned the use of slick metal or PCV pipes (like the one I use) and a baffle to keep the climbing predators out. And starlings do make very large “targets” (and they are not a native, protected species) if you are so inclined. I have mostly eliminated this threat from my yard.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by David in Stafford,VA.
Stafford, VAMay 16, 2022 at 10:38 am #24413
Thanks, David..! Any suggestions on where to purchase the pole and baffle?
Yes, the starlings will scatter when I fire the air gun, or even if I just walk towards them. And since they cannot enter the house, it seems like there’s no reason to worry about that as a potential threat.May 16, 2022 at 10:39 am #24414JulieParticipant
Stebet, check out the thread “Sparrow or wren?” David posted a nice photo in it of his box set up. It’s really helpful, and one of my all-time favorite pictures!!May 16, 2022 at 10:40 am #24415
I will, thank you Julie!May 16, 2022 at 10:55 am #24419
Julie, you don’t think the nosy starling is a problem? Many times a day, I see him poking his head inside the BB box. It’s just upsetting to see that…! He always flies away when I approach him, but I can’t be out there all day……. :-(May 16, 2022 at 11:01 am #24421
I have both a Home Depot and Lowes near by. I bought the 1 1/2″ PCV pipe and the 24″ Stove Pipe and cap from Lowes. I cut my pipe to 5′ and stood it in a concrete footer block with a hole in the center and filled it with concrete. Then I drilled 2 holes 180 degrees apart and inserted 2 3″ large screws to hold the baffle. I cut a 1 1/2″ hole in the stovetop cap, slid it over the pole to rest on the screws. Since I have snakes in the wooded area behind my house I used some hardware cloth to make some sharp edged disks that I also put on the pole before I put the stovepipe on. I then stuffed some crumpled chicken wire into the stove pipe to deter the snakes.
I also bought a 1 1/2″ flat mounting flange that I screwed onto the bottom of the nestbox. I mounted the nestbox on top of the pole but did not use pipe glue to secure it (you could use a screw to hold it on but I found that too much work to redo after you take the nestbox down – It never seems to line up right). This way I can remove the box and clean it out after each nesting.
Hope this helps.
Stafford, VAMay 16, 2022 at 11:09 am #24422
Each year I put a 3″ coating of Lithium Grease around the base of the pole, a 2″ strip above the top of the baffle and another one below the mounting flange to stop ants from climbing the pole go get into the nest.
Stafford, VAMay 16, 2022 at 11:12 am #24423
How could I forget, Wild birds Unlimited also has a big selection of poles, baffles, and other things that you could use. They are more expensive than the “do-it-yourself” model that I described but it is another option.
Stafford, VAMay 16, 2022 at 11:56 am #24424
Thank you David VA, that is really helpful information!May 16, 2022 at 9:51 pm #24429DanaParticipant
There’s been starlings that have done that with my nest box. Mostly when the bluebirds were in the process of nest building. Both bluebirds would attack the starling and drive it away. In your case I would make sure the nest is not built too high near the entrance hole to keep the starling from being able to reach in or harm the baby bluebirds. You can do this by removing some of the nesting material from the bottom of the nest or by using a deeper nest box.
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