New to the neighborhood over the past month, these starlings have inserted themselves into the daily routine with great effrontery. They arrive in swarms to perch in the poplar patch and watch for an opportunity to snatch some corn from the goose’s feeding trough or, worse yet steal from the chicken feed right inside their little house! To add insult to injury, they sit on the tops of the doors, fences, roof tops and even the propane tank and leave behind their daily poop, which piles up so high I have to take a broom to dislodge it. This is not only disgusting–it is outrageous!
The starlings appear to be skittery, flighty birds that take off at any disturbance, so it seemed they might not like something fluttering in the doorway of the chicken house. An old bed sheet cut into strips and stapled to the inside of the doorway became my weapon of mass destruction. The chickens didn’t seem to notice this strange apparition in their entryway and I lurked around behind a tree waiting to see what the starlings would think.
The starlings began to collect in the treetops to think about this new development. Having grown fat on free lunch and fresh water each day, they will not be easily deterred. Suggestions started coming in for a backup plan in case the bed sheet trick doesn’t work. I discarded the notions of shooting at them with a shotgun; hanging a fake owl from the garden fence; training Rosie to chase them away by barking loudly whenever they arrive; camping out at the chicken house beating on a tin tub to scare them away or finally, four and twenty starlings “baked in a pie!” All of these ideas became problematic in some fashion to the birds we enjoy having around our feeders all winter.
An unplanned emergency trip to the store for more chicken feed, and the resulting hit to my wallet cries out for a full declaration of war! Stay tuned.