When Discriminating Becomes Discriminatory

I’ve been feeding birds nearly as long as I can remember now, whether it was by leaving fruit in the garden for the birds to share or by filling up one or two bird feeders every day.

Today, though, I took down my main feeder and won’t be putting it back up for awhile despite the fact that I’ll miss this beautiful female Black-Headed Grosbeak

And this beautiful, but greedy, Red-Shafted Flicker

Unfortunately, the feeder has been mobbed lately by flocks of Starlings that smoother the feeder, chase other birds away, and squabble loudly while gorging themselves.

I tried to scare them away for a couple days, but I’m afraid neighbors will report me as some sort of demented madman if I keep going out every few minutes and yelling to try to make them fly away.

Though I don’t dislike the Starlings as much as the small rats that were hanging around earlier in the year, they are a close second and the last thing I want to do is to attract them to my house. I’m not ungrateful when they flock on the lawn and eat all the insects in sight, but I really don’t like seeing the sky covered when they line up on the power lines waiting to descend on the feeder.

I want to encourage native species, not invasive species, but its seems nearly impossible to help one without also helping the other.

For now, at least, I’ll have to resort to the thistle feeder so that at least the Black-capped Chickadees living in the fir in the front yard will still have a source of food, though not as plentiful as the main feeder was.

5 thoughts on “When Discriminating Becomes Discriminatory”

  1. My mother, genteel southern writer that she is, keeps bird feeders also. The desk in her study sits in front of a window that overlooks at least three feeders.

    And her solution for starlings is to fire a pellet rifle out of the open window.

    I think our neighbors built up immunity to this long ago. They didn’t have any choice.

  2. I’ll have to confess that similar thoughts crossed my mind, Krista, but we live so close together here that I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate having pellets whiz through their backyard.I know I wouldn’t.

  3. It’s best not to shoot. It just makes you more angry and doesn’t lessen anything. I wouldn’t shoot at the birds, but I’ve shot the squirrels, and they never changed their slightest eating habits.

  4. Oh those flying rats masquerading as birds! Loren, I gave myself some kind of St. Francis award last week when I caught two of them in the house–used a straw hat, and I actually let them go. But I had evil thoughts. Problem was the dummy who left the damper open was I. Hope they didn’t head to your house.

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