Southern Ontario, and especially the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), is a winter wonderland for European starlings. First introduced to North America in the mid-1800s, the initial 100 European starlings have thrived, now numbering more than 200 million.1
During the winter months, over 255,000 starlings—half of Canada’s wintering number—migrate to the Golden Horseshoe area. Starlings are hardy, adaptable, and adept at exploiting urban and agricultural areas. Toronto is home to more than 11,000 starlings, Hamilton 12,000, Kitchener 7,000. Up to 250,000 starlings call the NiagaraPeninsula home.
Problems arise when starlings come into contact with humans while looking for places to nest. Starlings like to nest in holes or cavities, including trees, birdhouses, buildings, homes, and attics—any interior space they can fit into, with a preference for dryers, stoves, and bathroom vents.
Starlings begin nesting in April, with the female typically laying 4–6 eggs and incubating them for up to two weeks. The young birds generally learn to fly in 19–22 days. Many homeowners mistakenly believe they can get rid of starlings by simply removing the eggs; however, if the eggs are removed or the young die, the adult female will just lay another batch.
Starling nests are made up of grass, weeds, twigs, and other debris. If starlings find a good site, they can return year after year, building nests in front of older ones, leading to a large build-up of nesting materials.
Nesting starlings cause bug infestations, disturbing noises, and unpleasant odours caused by their feces and dead young (which they don’t remove.) Bird parasites like mites can migrate away from nests and enter a house. The appearance of maggots and flies may indicate the presence of dead birds in the duct, attic, and/or chimney.
If you think you have starlings nesting in your home or building, contact City & Country Pest Control, the GTA’s most experienced and reliable animal control company. City & Country Pest Control will conduct a thorough inspection and provide you with a free estimate detailing the work necessary to solve your bird problem.
During the nesting season, the first step is to evict the adult starlings before accessing the nest containing their babies. After the adults have been removed, City & Country will install a heavy-gauge galvanized steel screen over the outside vent opening, ensuring that the vent flaps continue to work properly. All of City & Country Pest Control’s work is 100% guaranteed for two to five years.
In the event the nest(s) contain baby birds, City & Country Pest Control will retrieve them in the most humane way possible. This can be a very involved process; in the event that the nest is in a vertical section of a vent pipe, the pipe will have to be dismantled to reach the nest and baby birds. During this process, a properly filtered mask must be worn to prevent inhaling potentially harmful bird feces and other dangerous agents. The vent will then be treated with a pyrethrin product to help eradicate bird parasites.
Contact City & Country Pest Control today at 905-455-1102 or firstname.lastname@example.org to humanely solve your wildlife problem, and to proof your home and business against all unwanted pests!
1. “An ode to starlings, our most misunderstood bird,” The Toronto Star, January 11, 2009; http://www.thestar.com/news/2009/01/11/an_ode_to_starlings_our_most_misunderstood_bird.html.