• Do Starlings Nest In Vents?

    Starlings are a non-native bird species introduced to the US from Europe in the late 19th century. These birds are a nuisance everywhere, they reproduce and invade urban areas very rapidly.

    As with any other birds, starlings nesting in vents are a very common problem, particularly during the spring when the birds start the nesting process. Most starlings will then seek the seclusion and dryness of vents in order to find a suitable place to build nests.

    Research has shown that starlings are cavity nesters, which means they tend to construct their nests inside holes and crevices. This explains why they favor various vents and ducts for building nests and caring for their young.

    Starling nests in vents can cause serious problems for homeowners. Keep reading to learn more about starlings nesting in vents and how to protect your home from the infestation.


    Can Starlings Nest In Vents?

    Starlings are very invasive birds, they can nest about anywhere, including the vents. Their nests tend to be quite large in size, and are a loosely woven mass made out of hay, grass, twigs, bark, and trash.

    They like to build their nests in warm and secluded areas, which usually leads them to ductwork and exhaust vents. One of their favorite places is wall vents.
    Starlings also love to nest in nice, cozy dryer vents. They are drawn to dryer vents because of their high location, as these vents are mostly some distance from the ground and therefore far from their predators.

    But there are also other vents in the house where these birds might live, i.e. bathroom fan vents, oven and stove exhaust vents, microwave vents, roof vents, gable vents, or heater and furnace vents.



    Why And How Do Starlings Get Into The Vents?

    Starlings are very clever and agile creatures and know very well how to select a site to nest. Even though the vents have flaps, they are able to fly in and set up their nests in the ductwork.

    Until a few years ago, starlings used to nest only in vents from which the flaps had been removed. However, these days they have figured out how to lift the vent flaps to get inside. They will fly at full speed towards the vent, then lift the flap with their beak and vanish inside without even slowing down.

    Apart from the flaps, these birds can tactfully use their beaks to breach dryer vents and exhaust vents, and will also easily take advantage of broken attic vents.

    The vents in the house walls are common entry points for starlings. But they can also enter inside your house through a wide variety of vents mounted on the roof, such as a ridge vent, static vent, and powered fan vent.


    What Damage Do Starlings In A Vent Cause?

    Starlings in a vent are especially destructive whenever they get access to your home and can cause some serious damage to your house and disrupt your well-being.


    ●  FIRE

    Once in the vent, a starling will stuff the ductwork full of combustible nest materials that restrict airflow. This can create a dangerous situation as the dry grass, twigs, and leaves can quickly catch fire.

    Also, the lint build-up in the exhaust duct or dryer can block the airflow and cause overheating of the appliances, which might result in a fire.

    Therefore, the issue must be dealt with as soon as possible. Keeping the vents clean and clear of any debris can save your house from a tragedy.



    If you find a nest or nesting materials that are clogging the dryer vent, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any obstructions to airflow. This is because the blockage of the dryer hose can cause overheating of the appliance. And even a partial blockage might cause the dryer to not operate properly. This can cause damage to the appliance and ultimately constitute a potential fire hazard.

    So, in the case of a clogged dryer or oven vent, it is much more than just getting rid of the obstacle. It’s vital to ensure that there is a proper flow of air for the appliance to run efficiently.

    Moreover, bird activity in the dryer vent can also lead to rupture of the exhaust line, which causes the dryer to ventilate into a wall or ceiling. As a result, your house will be damaged by unseen moisture.


    ●  ODOR

    If the birds got pushed or pulled into the dryer hose, you could have a foul odor to deal with.

    A damaged or clogged duct in a bathroom vent will cause air contamination, meaning the air from the birds will circulate around your home. With the build-up of nesting materials, bird droppings, rotten eggs, and dead young, warm temperatures will intensify the odor. Eventually, the unpleasant smell will permeate your living areas. When you turn the exhaust fan on, the clogged line will force the air back into your house.



    Starlings carry many diseases and parasites like bird mites. The parasites accumulate in the vents as the young birds are born. Eventually, those thousands of mites migrate away from empty nests or dead birds and end up inside your home. This will lead to sanitation issues, putting your family and pets at risk.

    In addition, bird droppings contain a lot of pathogens and bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. These can have various negative effects on human health. Also, spores in bird droppings can cause an even greater health risk if inhaled.



    How Do You Protect Your Vents From Starlings?

    As prevention is key, it’s always recommended to employ appropriate methods to keep starlings out of the vents before they start building their nest.

    To prevent starlings from building nests in your vents, you should:

    – Install netting, ready-made screens, guards, or long pieces of wire with a hook on the end over the vent openings.

    – Install vent covers that are made of metal instead of plastic, as they will last longer in adverse weather conditions.

    – Install a solid galvanized mesh on the vents. This will keep the starlings out and ensure the vents continue to operate.


    Removal of starlings and their nests is a dirty, unsafe, and difficult job, therefore, it’s best to call a professional to have this service done for you.

    If you need help eliminating starlings and nest material from the vents, contact our experienced team at Westchester Wildlife. We will safely get rid of the starling infestation in your home and help prevent future problems from occurring.



  • Are Starlings Bad For Your Lawn?


    European starlings are considered one of the most common nuisance and invasive bird species found throughout the United States.

    No matter which area you live in, whether it’s a rural or urban area, starlings can be a real problem for residential as well as for commercial properties. Starlings can be a nuisance due to their nesting, eating, and roosting habits.

    These purplish-green birds with yellow beaks and white spots are quite pretty to look at, however, they are despised by lawn owners, ecologists, and bird watchers alike. Starlings are loud, talkative, annoying, very aggressive, and they are just about everywhere!

    They can be a pain to clean up after, not to mention the damage caused to your house and the appearance of your lawn.


    Why Are Starlings Bad For Your Lawn And Yard?

    When European starlings are in the flocking phase and congregate in large numbers, they can become a nuisance. Thousands of them will overwhelm structures, trees, and lawns. Starlings roosting in urban locations can cause health concerns, waste contaminated ground, odors, and noises.

    Their droppings are hazardous and can spread diseases to humans and pets. When walking on the lawn, you or your dog can accidentally bring the bird waste into the home.

    Dried droppings release dust that can cause bad health issues such as Histoplasmosis (fungal respiratory disease), or other illnesses particularly in those suffering from asthma. Bacteria and parasites in the bird droppings also pose a health risk.

    If many starlings are foraging around your yard, they might bring in pests as these birds often carry ticks and mites, or other parasites. The pests can then transfer to people and their pets.



    Do Starlings Damage Lawns?

    Starlings can damage grass turf as they search for food. The root systems of the grass might be torn due to pulled roots while the birds are looking for worms.

    Large flocks can destroy crops in your garden and disturb your newly seeded lawn when the birds feed on seeds and berries.

    Also, their waste can possibly spread invasive weed seeds around your yard.


    On the other hand, starlings can also be beneficial to your lawn.

    Homeowners usually complain about starlings settling in numbers onto lawns. But these birds are actually helping the lawn by eating harmful pests, and thus, acting as a natural form of pest control.

    Starlings love to eat leatherjacket bugs, which are the larvae of crane flies or daddy long legs. Leatherjackets are considered a pest as they damage crops, eat plant roots, and make the lawn look unsightly. So, the more starlings in your yard, the better off your lawn will be in terms of pest control.

    In addition to getting rid of destructive pests, starlings will also naturally aerate the soil while poking holes in your lawn.


    Why Do Starlings Peck Your Lawn?

    Starlings are mostly ground foragers that feed on a variety of critters living in the soil. They tend to prefer open spaces and surroundings with not too many trees or shrubs. These birds also avoid high grass.

    If you notice many starlings pecking your lawn, this could indicate that you have a pest problem in the lawn.

    Starlings are commonly found feeding on grubs, cutworms, sod webworms, armyworms, and chinch bugs. When these worms are active, birds will happily feed on them.

    If you don’t deal with the pest issues, the pests are most likely to do more damage than the starlings.



    What Do Starlings Eat Out Of The Grass?

    Starlings primarily forage on the ground in open areas, probing in soil and grass with their beaks.

    Starlings are known to consume a varied diet including many types of bugs, larvae, seeds, corn, grains, and berries. However, they prefer catching insects, if available.

    During summer, they prefer eating flies, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, snails, grasshoppers, earthworms, and other invertebrates.

    In the fall and winter months, they will choose a wide variety of fruits in trees, berries, and seeds. At this time, they will often come to bird feeders as well. 

    Starlings often flock shortly after grass mowing as they are attracted to all the bugs and seeds that get exposed in the short, freshly cut grass. When you stir up the lawn with the lawnmower, it’s easier for these birds to reach the worms and insects that they’re after.


    It is advised to be persistent in starling control and start working on controlling these obnoxious birds before they have gained a strong attraction to your yard. This way, you will be more successful in eradicating them.

    Starlings are a very invasive species that require the help of a professional to get rid of them for good. So, contact Westchester Wildlife to learn more about our bird control services, which include bird proofing, removal, and trapping.

    Our experienced technicians at Westchester Wildlife will humanely trap and remove the invading starlings from your property. We are servicing Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties in New York, as well as Fairfield County in Connecticut.