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Starlings and the Grain/Agriculture Industry

Starlings and the Grain/Agriculture IndustryEuropean starlings cost growers as much as $800 million in the US annually. The loud, obnoxious, destructive birds steal grain, ravage crops and crowd out native bird species. The problem is that starlings move in vast numbers, which often descend on a field, orchard or grain area. A migrating flock of starlings can number 100,000 birds. Another problematic factor is that starlings now have fewer natural predators to keep their numbers in check.

Attacking Grain Fields

As highly aggressive omnivores, European starlings compete with native fauna for food. Open bill probing is most commonly used to feed on ground invertebrates, which is their preferred food. In new grain fields, starlings will pull up young plants and eat the seeds.

Extensive Fruit Damage

Starlings will typically assault a wide range of crops, including strawberries, blueberries, grapes, tomatoes, peaches, figs, apples and cherries. Fruit damage is often caused by younger birds, which have underdeveloped probing skills. It is not uncommon for a flock of 4,000 starlings to cause major loss of revenue in a large vineyard in a week’s time.

Problems Around Livestock & Poultry

Starlings create formidable problems for livestock and poultry facilities, congregating at feed troughs and diminishing supplies of livestock feed—1,000 birds can consume 100 pounds of grain a day. Starlings can contaminate food and water sources with their droppings, carrying parasites and diseases, including E coli, from farm to farm. These diseases are transmissible to livestock and people, including TGE (transmissible gastroenteritis—a swine disease), blastomycosis and salmonella.  Starling droppings can also contain the fungus histoplasma capsulatum, the cause of histoplasmosis in humans.

Nesting Problems

Starling nests built into building cavities can pose a fire hazard. New nests are typically added to old, compounding this combustible materials hazard. When starlings enter buildings to roost and nest, they create sanitation problems; when they nest in farm equipment, they create fire hazards. Their droppings carry ticks and mites, and they are highly acidic, eating into paint and degrading the strength and structural integrity of many materials, including infrastructures and roof linings. The sheer amount of droppings together with their chemical action can damage and kill trees and any vegetation underneath.

Humane, Effective Starling Deterrents

Getting rid of flocking birds can pose a challenge, since many birds are protected by law and cannot be killed or injured. Growers and farmers have found that the only viable solution is to use humane, proven effective bird repellents. This is where the bird control pros at Bird B Gone can help.

Agrilaser® Lite for Farms, Fields, Warehouses

Employing advanced, patented optical laser-beam technology, the Agrilaser® Lite harmlessly repels flocking birds over great distances—up to 2,500 meters. Developed with the help of farmers and ornithologists, the Agrilaser® Lite is animal friendly and ideal for repelling a variety of birds. It is most effective during sunrise and sunset, and in overcast, rainy or foggy weather conditions. The Agrilaser® Lite comes with two rechargeable batteries and a power charger.

Heavy Duty Bird Netting

Ideal for sealing out birds from specific areas around a warehouse or storage facility, Bird B Gone’s Bird Net 2000 Heavy Duty Bird Netting is made of a tough UV-stabilized polyethylene mesh. This durable netting is rot proof, water proof and flame resistant. It’s also ISO 1806 and 9001 Protocol mesh tested, temperature stable (-250F to 270F), and non-conductive. It comes in stock sizes and custom cuts up to 200 ft.  The ¾” mesh is ideal for blocking out small birds like starlings. The netting is backed by a 10-year guarantee and comes in black, stone or white to blend in with its background.

Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic

This weatherproof sound deterrent is recommended for deterring birds from large open spaces. It broadcasts pre-recorded distress and predator calls that intimidate as many as 22 species of birds. Ideal for deterring birds from lofty or hard to reach areas—like rooftops, trees and open fields, the device is programmable and comes with a built-in speaker that will cover up to an acre (additional speakers can be added to boost range). Because it’s solar powered, no AC access is needed, so it can be placed wherever pest birds gather most often.

Ask the Experts

If you’re unsure about which product would work best for your specific situation, Bird B Gone has over 100 years of combined experience in the field of bird control. We can help you with product selection, installation and cleanup. Just call us at (888) 570-0360 for a catalog, pricing, or product samples or email us at nobirds@birdbgone.com. We also work with a network of authorized installers, call today for a trained bird control professional in your area.