Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pigs With Wings

Those of you who visit here regularly know how we love to feed the birds.  We currently have six feeders out back (including a suet feeder) and a suet feeder in the front yard.  We've been lucky to get a good variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, and ground feeders, even the occasional squirrel.  Unfortunately, our feeders have attracted a less welcome variety of birds, whom I have dubbed "pigs with wings."  Actually, this is an insult to pigs everywhere because pigs can be really cute.

Who could read "Charlotte's Web" and not think pigs are cute, am I right?  ;D

These "pigs with wings" are NOT cute.  You're probably familiar with this greedy pest -- the Starling.  Ugh.  They descend on our feeders in hoards; they fight with each other and chase the other birds away.  And they can clean out our bark butter in no time flat.  They've been at our feeders off and on for most of the day, and I'm just trying not to look at them because looking at them just makes me angry.  😠

According to this site,  Starlings are not native to the U.S.  They were introduced here in 1890, released into the streets of New York City by a group called the American Acclimatization Society, who sought to "populate the United States with familiar European species."  They just wanted to bring species they thought would be "useful" and "interesting" to Americans.  Perhaps this was the same group who thought that importing kudzu vines to the United States from Japan was a brilliant idea?

Kudzu, the bane of the South.  After seeing this photo of kudzu overtaking an old school bus, a local farmer remarked that someone must have parked it there overnight.  This was said only half-jokingly, I'm sure.  Starlings are like kudzu, invasive, aggressive, almost impossible to get rid of, and seemingly everywhere.

I used to think squirrels at the bird feeders were a major nuisance, but I've come to realize the starlings are much worse.  At least I can usually manage to chase a squirrel off when it starts messing with a bird feeder -- not so the starlings.  I'm leery of chasing them for fear it might turn out like a scene from "The Birds" with them attacking me and pecking my eyes out or something.

Well, that's it for today's venting session.  Do you have starlings in your area and do they bother your bird feeders?  I really appreciate your visit and hope you have a great day!



  1. We have starlings here but I have never seen them in winter, nor seen them at our feeders. The "pigs" that we have are gray and furry with fluffy tails. It's a constant battle with squirrels around here. They don't scare easily either.

  2. Ah yes, the droves of starlings that descend on the feeders! I take mine down for a few days and they move on to someone else's yard. Luckily both my winter feeders hang from the eaves trough in front of kitchen windows and any movement has these marauders on the fly. I have beat the squirrels with this method but not the starlings. lol

  3. I have a little pistol that runs on air and shoots pellets. I think I'd see if they like it whizzing by because I could not tolerate having them ruin my feeders. How frustrating for you...

  4. We don't have starlings here in Western NC, at least I haven't ever seen any. The pigs around here are doves, that sit in the feeders and sleep, keeping the little birds out. We put up a caged feeder to keep them out, with a barrel baffle that takes care of the squirrels.

  5. Oh dear. We had an event with starlings a couple years back and I didn't realize what type of bird they were and the nuisance they are. I'm glad they haven't come back. No you don't want to re-enact anything to do with The Birds!! We spent our 25th wedding anniversary at Bodega Bay where they filmed The Birds with my cousin and his wife. We kept looking around to make sure no birds were congregating anywhere near us!

  6. Darn marauders! We see some in the spring and I have gone out to scare them away with no problems. They are fairly wary and respond easily. They may come right back so you have to repeat the scare. We have a bee bee/ pellet gun that Dan has used and shot at the bird feeder post and they get the message quickly then! You have to declare war otherwise they win.

  7. I don't notice them much but I'll have to look more closely. That's a great kudzu photo!

  8. What a nuisance, Denise! I don't put bird feeders out any more because of the squirrels and rodents. The birds still come by to feed off the berries on my trees and to drink from my little waterfall.
    Happy Friday to You!



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