Starling, European

Latin name: Sturnus vulgarisStarling

Length, wingspan: 8.5″, 16″

What they eat: Mainly insects, but also berries and seeds

Plants that attract: Open grassy and urban areas

Where they nest: Primarily tree cavities, occasionally in nest boxes

My observations: Did you know starlings are in the same family (Sturnidae) as Myna birds? I didn’t! I have to admit I’m not crazy about starlings because they have been a very invasive species ever since being brought here from Europe. They are aggressive with other birds and compete for their nesting sites. We’ve had them displace our bluebird pairs in past years, which was frustrating. (now, it seems, our bluebirds are more diligent about defending their nest boxes) You typically see starlings in large flocks, especially early in the season and in the fall. Starlings make a lot of different sounds but mostly a type of whistling call, although they also are known for mimicking other birds’ calls. Their plumage is really quite pretty, with many iridescent feathers. According to my research, the darker birds are the breeding adults and the really shiny, colorful birds are juveniles.

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