A few weeks ago I noticed that starlings were nesting in our dryer vent, but as far as I can tell, they haven't laid any eggs and the nest seems abandoned. I still need it cleared from the vent, but that's a separate issue.
I had to take down my bird feeder. At the start, it was all finches, sparrows, and jays, and that was pretty cool. We got a finch feeder when we spotted some goldfinches checking out our yard with all the other birds, but they never came back, so I took it down so it wouldn't get moldy. The starlings were fine, because they were mostly picking grubs out of the yard, but eventually all of the other birds stopped coming by and the only birds eating our seeds and suet were starlings.
Then, a couple days ago, they started massing in our yard. My guess is that this year's parents were teaching their fledglings to use backyard bird feeders, because they were mobbing it. They scattered millet and black oil sunflower seeds and droppings and chunks of suet all over the patio. After a day or so of listening to them drown out every other sound in the neighborhood, I got the ladder and took the feeder down and hid it under some boards in a barrel. I put a wind-chime up on the hook where it used to be and now they come by and fly around the chime and squawk angrily before flying off.
I saw one finch hunting around for millet on the ground yesterday, but really, it's mostly angry starlings perched on our fence here and there. I've seen them landing on our bird house and sticking their heads in--probably looking for the food--but the hole is too small for them to crawl in.
I'm vaguely concerned they'll go for my tomatoes eventually. I watched one fly up to the plant and then away, but I think he was just exploring. Is that something they'd do? I know they eat fruit from time to time.
Does anyone else have any experience encouraging diverse species of backyard birds without attracting a horde of starlings?
ETA: I'm mostly grousing, but I'm genuinely open to suggestions.