Known as Common Starling or European StarlingKingdom: Animalia
Species: Sturnus vulgaris
Starling History in North America
The European Starling, also known as the Common Starling, is a small bird native to Eurasia, but introduced in South Africa, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Prior to 1850 there were two attempts to introduce the starling in North America, in the northeast and on the West Coast. Both of these initial attempts failed. However, in 1890, sixty birds were released in Central Park and began to flourish.
The European Starling is six inches long, has a pointed bill that is yellow most of the year and
dark during the fall. Covered in black feathers, it has white spots on its head and body in
the fall and shimmering green and purple feathers in the spring. It also has dark pointed wings and a short tail.
Feeding, Nesting Habits of Starlings
Starlings eat fruits, grains, seeds, insects, locusts, ground beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, moths and butterflies. They also eat invertebrates, berries and garbage. These small birds feed in large flocks often with blackbirds and return to the same area to eat each day. Starlings forge with other bird species including red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, American robins, house sparrows, crows and rock doves. They walk along the ground probing the soil with their bills.
One of the most numerous birds in North America, the starling is a fierce competitor for nesting sites.
They are responsible for the decline in native cavity nesting birds such as sapsuckers and they often compete for nesting sites with
woodpeckers. Nests are filled with grass or pine needles and other things such as feathers, paper, plastic, string and roots.
They are formed 2-60 feet above the ground.
The European Starling has a diverse vocalization pattern and have been known to imbed sounds from their surroundings into their own call.
Some of these sounds include car alarms. They can mimic up to 20 species of birds including the Eastern Wood Pewee, Killdeer, and Meadowlark.
Diseases Carried and Transmitted
The European Starling transmits five bacterial diseases including Salmonellosis, fungal diseases, blastonycosis, and histoplasmosis. They also carry the protozoan disease toxoplasmosis and chlamydiosis. Starlings spread fowl pox to poultry, swing gastroenteritis tapeworms and other livestock diseases.
Sources of Household Pests, Insects
The nests of starlings often interact with humans due to their locations in or on buildings, homes and other structures. Due to their close proximity to humans, Starlings are not only pests (noise, nesting materials and droppings) but their nests are a common source of fleas, ticks, bed bugs and carpet beetles. These pests can and do easily invade buildings, causing a secondary pest problem for humans, pets and domestic animals.
When Beneficial Birds Become a Pest or Danger to Humans or Property
Birds such as Starlings consume a great deal of bugs and insects (among
other things) which makes them beneficial in many instances. Due to their
habits of feeding, resting and nest building too close to humans, in many cases,
often make them a pest to certain buildings, industries and residential homes.
Suggested products to use for controlling starlings in open areas; use products in combinations for best results:
Enclosed or Semi-enclosed Areas
In an enclosed or semi-enclosed area, the Super Bird ExPeller Pro is too loud. In these cases the following combination of bird control products should be used:
If all nesting materials are not first removed from an area, sight and
sound scare devices will not work very well.
Credits: Thanks to Lani Powell for this European Starling information page!