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Starlings are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a starling, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. Because they are on the red list of birds causing concern they are further protected by a class licence.

In the unlikely event a homeowner is troubled by large numbers of starlings then the only course to control would be to use bird spikes as deterrents.

Except in very specific circumstances, Starling population control is illegal and any effort to reduce inconvenience should be limited to dissuading the birds from using specific roosts that have a direct impact on human health and safety.


  • Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings,
    Starling control
  • In winter the body feathers become tipped with white, giving a speckled appearance
  • Their flight is fast and direct and they walk and run confidently on the ground.
  • Noisy and gregarious, starlings spend a lot of the year in flocks.
  • They make a chattering sound and can imitate other species, even telephones or car alarms

  • Lifecycle 

    They nest in loose colonies and do not establish and defend a proper territory - only the immediate area around the nesting cavity is defended. The whole colony feeds communally in what is termed a home range.
    To attract a mate, the male builds the base of the nest from dry grass and leaves in a hole and sings from perches close to the nest entrance. The female completes the nest by making a nest cup and lining it with fine grasses, moss and feathers.

  • Starlings lay 4-6 eggs in mid-April.
  • The chicks hatch in 12 days.
  • Both parents feed the chicks a diet of insects, larvae, spiders and earthworms.
  • Young fledge at 3 weeks old and are fed for a further week or two before they become independent.
  • Normally only one brood is raised a year, but chick success is very high due to the protected environment of the inaccessible nest holes.
  • Habitat

  • Starlings nest in holes in buildings and trees, in loft spaces and nest boxes.
  • They feed over farmland on a diet of insects, worms, fruit and some grains.
  • The area around the nest is usually streaked white with droppings.
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