Starlings have invaded my bird feeding area. How can I permanently discourage them from the area and still feed my desirable avian friends?
Allegany County Maryland
What is attracting them to the area? First try to figure that out.
If it is bird seed, switch to bird feeders that exclude large birds--black thistle feeders, suet, and small-opening feeders. They do not like to hang upside down to feed. There are many possible good feeders on the market. If you use them exclusively for a while, that may train the starlings to look elsewhere for food and eventually you may be able to introduce feeders that larger birds can use later.
Don't scatter birdseed on the ground.
Be sure bird houses have small openings that only allow small birds. Fill, repair or otherwise block starlings from getting into any cavity where they can nest.
Clean your gutters. They are fond of water sitting in gutters (as are mosquitoes!)
If you get a number of them, spraying them with a garden hose can be effective to discourage them. Spray them a few times and they will go elsewhere.
If they are congregating in a particular tree or a clump of bamboo, etc., prune or remove it. There are devices with sharp points to keep them off ledges.