About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, January 12, 2009

European Starling

• European Starlings have a highly adaptable diet depending on what's available and length of the intestinal tract actually varies depending on the season. It is shorter in the summertime when birds mainly eat protein-rich insects and larger in wintertime when they mainly eat seeds rich in carboyhydrates.
• Rather than clamping their bill shut, starlings’ jaw muscles work to force it open giving them a great advantage when digging for grubs, worms, and bugs in the yard.
• Starlings, as members of the Sturnidae family, are cousins to the Mynah bird and are outstanding mimics. Individuals have been known to mimic the calls of up to 20 different bird species. Mozart bought a pet Starling after he heard it in a shop whistling one of his compositions.
• Starlings often return to the same nest cavity to raise their young each year.
• Bird banding records show the longest known life-span for a Starling in North America to be over 15 years old.
• Starlings in the Midwestern United States migrate south in the winter, but starlings in the East tend to be year-round residents. Young birds migrate farther than older birds.
• Migrating flocks of Starlings can reach enormous numbers; flocks of 100,000 birds are not uncommon.
• The European Starling is one of only three birds not protected by the United States government. The House Sparrow and the pigeon are the other two.
• A group of starlings has many collective nouns, including a "constellation", "filth", "murmuration", "scourge", and "vulgarity" of starlings.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched a starling in my garden this morning and it pulled off a petal of a primrose and flew off witn it then returned for more.

Anonymous said...

I have two pet starlings and they love flowers and fresh herbs. They fight over dandelion flowers. When I give them oregano or lemon balm or korean hyssop with flowers on it they pick the flowers off first then eat some of the foliage. Male starlings also use fragrant herbs and flowers for courtship. Mine know lots of words and can whistle several tunes.