|Adult and baby starling|
In the spring you’ll probably hear baby starlings before you see them. European Starling parents look a little confused by the large babies they’ve hatched. The babies follow parent starlings around with wide open mouths and loud demands for food.
Their babies almost look like a different species. They have fluffy dark gray feathers that can make them appear larger than their sleek black parents. I like to watch them bumble about the yard picking up things like sticks in the grass to test to see if its food before they spot a parent and run after them. The flight of the babies is pretty good but their landings sometimes need a little practice.
Image via Wikipedia
|Juvenile European Starling|
Soon they’ll start to grow a black and white spotted vest. Then eventually their whole body will be covered by iridescent black feathers with white tips before winter. The white tips give the bird a spotted look or the appearance of “stars” covering their body, hence the name starling.
Adult starling males and females mature to a length of about 8.5 inches and weigh about 3 ounces. Over the winter sunlight and weather dulls the speckled look and the bird becomes uniform dark brown or black. Both sexes also have reddish brown legs, and seasonal changes in bill color (yellow in the spring, black in the fall). Males sport a bluish spot at the base of their beaks, while the female displays a reddish pink speck.
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