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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Starling and sparrow nesting together

I saw the most interesting thing yesterday. A starling parent was being harassed by 5 baby starlings and one baby sparrow for food. I watched closely as he fed one starling baby then another and another and finally the baby sparrow. What do you think about that? By the way I LOVE your posts! ~ Holly, Michigan
I watched something similar too. We have starlings and sparrows that are nesting in a window flower box. Both the European Starlings and House Sparrows are "secondary cavity nesters," birds that require natural or man made holes or crevices to nest. Both birds also breed close together, feed in flocks, are very gregarious and find it easy to coexist with people.

Incubation for the sparrow lasts for 10 to 14 days. After the eggs are hatched, both males and females feed the young through regurgitation for another couple weeks until they fledge. Incubation of the starling eggs lasts about eleven days and then the parents feed them only soft, animal foods until the young leave the nest after 21 to 23 days.

If the nests were close together and the babies fledged at the same time there may be a little confusion. Both the starlings and sparrows are omnivorous and can adapt to numerous kinds of food. The starling parent’s instincts might kick in at the sight of the small open mouth of the sparrow eliciting an inborn response to feed.

Thank you for sharing your interesting observation.

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