7 Natural Ways to Get rid of Starlings & Grackles [Step by Step]

Having birds around in your garden is great, they make the environment more enriched and beautiful, but some birds are more harmful than others. Starlings and Grackles are both known as invasive birds that attack other birds and steal their food frequently.

Moreover, they make nests on properties, making it hard to keep them out of your garden. So the best idea is to get rid of them as humanely as possible.

This way, other birds are not harmed, yet you can keep your garden peaceful. Here are some natural ways you can get rid of these impolite birds. 

7 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Grackles and Starlings Naturally

1. Use bird spikes

Bird spikes are an easy solution to get rid of any type of bird. But they are especially great for these invasive birds such as Starlings and Grackles.

Bird spikes are not harmful to any birds, but they make it uncomfortable for these birds to sit on, thus discouraging them from nesting or feeding from your property. 

Required Material:

  • Bird spikes
  • Screws

Step by Step Process:

  • Identify the areas where these birds tend to sit around. They usually sit on fences and ledges of your house. 
  • Install the bird spikes on these areas, and make sure to cover every possible area. 
  • You may still see some grackles and starlings around, but eventually, they will stop coming. 


You may still need additional prevention methods for other areas such as bird feeders. 

2. Bird deterrent kites

Bird deterrent kites are a kind of distraction that is meant to scare birds like starlings and grackles. These kites can be shaped like hawks, which adds to the scare factor. The rapid movement of the kites mimics a hawk flying in the air, which scares away these smaller birds.  

Required Material:

  • Bird deterrent kites
  • Strong kite string
  • Long pole about 5-6 meters long. 

Step by Step Process:

  • Find an open area in your garden that gets a good amount of wind. 
  • Attach a small piece of kite string to your bird deterrent kite, about 3 feet long. 
  • Attach the other end of the string to the long pole, making sure it is firmly attached. 
  • Now drive the pole into the ground, making sure that the bird deterrent kite does not get caught in any trees. 
  • As soon as the kite catches the wind, it will start flying, and it may rotate around the pole mimicking a real hawk. 


You may need to increase or decrease the height of the pole to make sure that the kite catches the wind, and that it actually scares the bird away.  

3. Motion-activated sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great tool for any type of pests, but it is also a great method to get rid of freckles and Starlings. Both of these birds often feed on the ground, which makes the motion-activated sprinkler a good solution to drive away these birds. 

Required Material:

  • Motion-activated sprinklers
  • Water hose
  • Bird food (optional)

Step by Step Process:

  • Install the motion-activated sprinklers around your garden. You may use as many as you need to cover the whole property.
  • Attach a hose to your motion-activated sprinkler and connect it to a water supply. 
  • You can sprinkle some bird food as bait for the birds on the ground. However, this step is optional. 
  • Whenever grackles or starlings would come close to the ground to feed, the sprinklers would spray them with water, which will scare them off. 


If the water flow is not high enough, the sprinkler may not be effective at spraying the birds, so make sure that you have a good and reliable water supply. 

4. Use Shiny objects

Birds are usually scared of bright lights, therefore using the sunshine to reflect on them is a great way to distract them or scare them away. To do this you can purchase bird deterrent mirrors and tape, or simply use old CDs to create your own. 

Required Material: 

  • Bird deterrent mirrors
  • Old CDs 
  • Strings

Step by Step Process: 

  • If you are using bird deterrent mirrors, they may already be attached to a string. If not, then you can attach a string through the hole at the top. 
  • If you are using old CDs, then glue together two CDs, with the shiny side on the outside. Then attach a string about 3-4 feet long through the hole in the middle of the CDs to create your own bird deterrent mirror. 
  • Now hang your mirrors outside in an area that has ample sunshine. Make sure to hang them in areas where grackles and starlings frequent. It may be your porch, or on your fence, or even on your bird feeder, if you have one. 
  • Make sure that the mirrors can hang freely, so that they can reflect as much sunlight as possible. Starlings and Grackles will be startled by the flash of reflected lights and will avoid the area. 


If the mirrors are not catching enough sunlight to reflect, this method will not work, so make sure to place them in areas that get little to no shade. 

5. Use a decoy

Decoys are great for deterring all types of birds and animals. The very sight of a predator is more than enough to drive away most birds, and this includes Grackles and Starlings. Usually, Hawk and Owl decoys are great for driving away these types of birds. 

Required Material: 

  • Hawk or Owl decoy

Step by Step Process: 

  • Install a few hawk and owl decoys around your house and garden. You can use double sided tape, or screws to hold them down. 
  • Rotate the positions of the hawks and owls every few days to make sure that the starlings and grackles do not realize that it’s a fake. 
  • Try to install them in areas that the starlings and grackles frequent. 


Unfortunately, decoys can also drive away other birds since they are also scared of predator birds. You can occasionally remove these decoys to allow other birds to come into your property if you want. 

6. Electronic sound emitter

There are two types of bird deterrent sound emitters. One of them uses ultrasonic sounds to deter birds, the other one uses distress calls of specific birds or the sounds of a hawk or eagle.

Both of these sound emitters have to be very precise and specific in order to work.

That being said, ultrasonic sound emitters are usually better as they emit a specific frequency of sound that would not bother other types of birds, whereas distress calls can deter away different types of birds including the ones that you intend to keep around your garden.

The type of sound emitter you choose will depend highly on your preference. 

Required Material: 

  • Bird-deterrent sound emitter

Step by Step Process:

  • You can install a few of these around your garden to cover a large area. Usually, ultrasonic sound emitters cover a larger area than distress call emitters. 
  • Usually they run on solar power, so no power is required, but in case they require batteries, you should follow the appropriate directions for the specific device. 
  • Ultrasonic emitters usually emit a high frequency sound all the time, however it’s inaudible to humans, so there is no need to worry. The ultrasonic device works for both grackles and starlings, but it has to be specific for these types of birds, so that other birds do not get scared away. 
  • If you’re using distress call emitters, they usually depend on motion sensors to detect any bird activity. Once it detects activity, it will emit a specific grackle or starling distress call. You should get two different types (one for Starlings, one for grackles) if you want to deter both types of birds. 
  • It should work by itself, and deter the birds from your garden, since they neither want to hear a sharp sound all the time, nor do they want to come near an area that they deem dangerous to their kind. 


Both ultrasonic sound emitters and distress call emitters have to be specifically for the type of bird you want to drive away. In this case, it is grackles and starlings, so make sure to buy the correct one for the specific species. 

7. Change the Bird food

Grackles and Starlings do not like specific types of bird feed, that other smaller birds do like. Nyjer seed and Safflower seeds are examples of bird food that Grackles and Starlings dislike.

Changing out the regular bird food for these types of seed will prevent Grackles and Starlings from attacking your bird feeder. 

Required Material: 

  • Safflower and Nyjer seeds. 

Step by Step Process: 

  • Replace your regular bird food with Safflower or Nyjer seeds. You can also use a combination of these two types of seeds. 
  • You may still see some starlings and grackles, but once they realize that the food is not to their liking, they will leave. 


To absolutely make sure no grackles or starlings attack your bird feeder, you should clean your garden thoroughly to make sure there is no other attractions for these birds. 

5 Effective Tips to Keep Starlings and Grackles Away

1. Remove the food sources

If you do not see any reason why Grackles and Starlings are attacking your house, you should look into what they are eating from your property. More often than not, Starlings and Grackles will feed on many fruits, berries, seeds or even insects that they can find in a garden.

If your garden is particularly rich in any or multiple of these food sources, that is what may be attracting these birds.

Clean your garden regularly and if you have any berry or small fruit trees, it may be a good idea to either remove them or to cover them with a bird net.

Furthermore, if you have too many insects in your house, it may also be causing a problem. So if you see an infestation of any certain insect, take an effort to exterminate them. 

2. Remove any potential nesting/roosting areas

Starlings and Grackles are well known for their invasive nature. They often make nests inside attics or any other hole or gap that they can find.

They may also just be sitting around your property to rest. Removing these potential nesting or roosting sites can greatly reduce their population from your property.

You should fill in any gaps and holes in your house, and remove any unnecessary structures in your property. 

3. Stop feeding other birds for a period

If you have a bird feeder, chances are that is what is attracting Grackles and Starlings to your property. The best way to prevent them from your garden in this scenario is for you to stop feeding birds for a while.

When you stop putting food in the bird feeder, it will discourage the grackles and starlings from coming. There is no guarantee that they won’t come back, but most likely they will go away to some other place to find food. 

4. Prune Trees

If starlings are lying in the field, pruning trees to reduce branch thickness will make them feel less comfortable and can compel larger flocks to seek shelter elsewhere.

5. Restrictive Bird Feeders or Install a cage around your bird feeder

Grackles and Starlings are fairly large birds. You can install a cage around the bird feeder to make sure that only the smaller birds can access the food inside.

You would have to buy the correct size of the net to create the cage, or you can buy an already caged bird feeder. 

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Final Words:

Starlings and Grackles can nest and live in your property and give birth to many more of their kind. This poses a huge threat to your property. They are known to attack other birds and cause havoc in your garden, so it’s best to keep them off your property.

It may seem difficult at first, but if you implement a few methods properly, you are sure to get rid of these annoying birds in no time.