Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Tangled Webs We Weave...Introducing Non-Native Species

If it weren't for Shakespeare, I wouldn't have reason to write this post, but if there was ever a reason to loathe the man, it would be for his repeated mention of Starlings.  You see, some genius back in 1890 decided that North America needed to have all the species of birds mentioned by Shakespeare, so he released several dozen Starlings in Central Park.  Starlings are now considered a non-native invasive species numbering around 200 million, and that, my friends, is just about how many holes have been pecked into the side of my house by these pests.

This weekend Mr. JP and his dad spent the better part of Saturday up in the attic repairing the holes that have been pecked--a few large ones, and MANY small ones where they started but perhaps lost interest (mostly above my bedroom window).  Funnily enough, there were no nests in the attic.  They seem to have been adamant about getting just the right spot, and they tore out a lot of insulation.  After all the work of patching holes, Mr. JP and I went out this morning upon hearing fluttering at the window, and there were MORE HOLES!  I'm exasperated to the point where I'd like to cover our siding in electrified mesh, but his mom offered us her bobble-head owl that is supposed to deter other birds as an alternate solution.  Note that Starlings are not protected under The Migratory Bird Act, but I have to get rid of them humanely.  I say if certain unmentioned states are allowed to get rid of convicts using electricity, then I can get rid of a small number of an invasive species using it...but that's a can of worms I'd not care to open with law enforcement.  Thus, my interim solution, the styrofoam block and a permanent marker.  I drew huge eyes on two blocks of styrofoam and mounted them on some gardening stakes.  I put one of them up high and one of them in the lawn, hoping that the eyes will scare these things away until we can pick up the owl.  I pray that it works and that I don't go out tomorrow to find shreds of styrofoam and a flock of laughing Starlings lined up under my window.


  1. Love the owl art. Can you build them alternate housing?

  2. I thought about putting nest boxes up, but most sites do not recommend providing nesting places for Starlings because they return each year and if a bluebird or something has taken up residence, the Starlings will kick them out (and not nicely, either). It would be akin to feeding the rats in the subway station, I think.