Starling / Grackle Identification:
Starlings are an introduced species to America and have adapted well to urban life which offers abundant nesting and food sites. The starling is a dark, chunky, muscular bird that is distinguished from other blackbird species by its short tail and longer, slender bill. In the winter starlings showcase a highly speckled, irridescent coat, while in the summer their plumage is much duller brown/black with less speckles. Starlings gather in massive flocks (some numbering tens of thousands) and these aggressive birds will drive out other native bird species often taking over the other birds' existing nests.
Common grackles are about 12" long and have green/blue or purple tinged black plumage with a glossy purplish head, neck and checst. The female of the species is slightly smaller and duller colored than the male grackle. Boat-tailed and great-tailed grackles are slightly larger than the common grackle at about 16" in length with similar plumage, but these pest birds have long "V" shaped tails that crease in flight. Like starlings and other members of the blackbird family, these birds are aggressive, colonizing in huge flocks to overwhelm structures and drive out native bird species.
Starling / Grackle Control:
Exclusion is the solution for grackle and starling control. BirdShock Electrical System and/or 1-1/8” mesh Birdnet is required for structural infestations. The harmless shock quickly modifies roosting behavior. Birdnet, properly tensioned, is almost invisible and provides a harmless, inpenetrable barrier against all problem birds. Large infestations at agriculture sites, small vineyards, rooftops and retention ponds etc can be resolved using a combination of audio / visual systems. The Bird Wailer, (for large acreage) or the Squawker (for smaller plots) audio systems will protect 8 - 100 acres depending on species and topography. The Eagle Eye, Firefly, Holographic Owl, Flash Tape should be used as a re-enforcement to audio systems. The Helikite will dissuade flocking birds while in flight. The Zon Gun propane cannon /used with the Tripod / Quartz Timer is an aggressive audio system appropriate for remote aresa.
In addition to bird net, another effective starling control product is an electrical track product as these pest birds are generally to nimble for most traditional mechanical ledge products. Electrical bird track is particularly useful for starling control or grackle control on building ledges. You can get rid of starlings and grackles with audio visual bird scare products if the bird scare products are implemented quickly when the birds move into an area. A combination of sophisticated noisemakers like the BirdGard Pro, Bird Squawker (for larger areas), Zon Gun propane canon and the BirdBlaster sound unit with visual products like bird scare eye balloons, bird scare flags and flash bird scare tape creates a menacing, predatory feel to the area driving the problem starlings or grackles from the vicinity. A new technique for starling bird control and grackle problems that has found some success is fogging with methyl anthranilate, a grape extract that reacts with the birds olfactory sense like pepper spray. This is a technique that should be undertaken by experienced professionals only.
Damage Caused by Starlings / Grackles:
When starlings or grackles are in their flocking phase, thousands of these pest birds can literally overwhelm trees or buildings in an area. Typical starling or grackle problems are large scale buildup of their sprayed feces (a whitewash look) which can lead to structural damage, as the uric acid in the pest bird droppings can corrode stone, metal and masonry. Machinery and drainage problems occur from starling nesting materials and bird droppings. In addition, the bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites found in starling droppings and nesting materials are responsible for a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more. The large quantity of starling or grackle droppings can open a company up to slip and fall liability if not properly cleaned up. Many companies also retain significant clean up and maintenance costs due to starling problems or grackle problems that are not resolved. Agriculture often has grackle problems as these problem birds will eat small seedlings and damage crops.