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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Starlings are mocking us

Every morning as I walk in to Wild Birds Unlimited I hear voices above my head. Sometimes it's a little disturbing hearing starlings discussing things (about me?) while perched up high on the wires.

European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are exceptional mimics, including human speech. As allaboutbirds.com explains: Starlings are relatives of the mynah birds, and like them they have impressive vocal abilities and a gift for mimicry. They can warble, whistle, chatter, make smooth liquid sounds, harsh trills and rattles, and imitate meadowlarks, jays, and hawks.

Male and female starlings use about 10 kinds of calls to communicate about where they are, whether there’s danger around, and how aggressive or agitated they feel. Among these are a purr-like call given as the bird takes flight, and a rattle that starlings make as they join a flock on the ground. Two types of screamlike calls indicate aggression and are often accompanied by flapping wings. They also make metallic chip notes to other flock members and when harassing or mobbing predators.

Females sing, particularly in the fall. Songs often include imitations of other birds, including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Brown-headed Cowbird, Northern Flicker, and others.

Related Articles:
Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/KldcZK
Bird of the week: European Starling http://bit.ly/KXORtK
How to deter mobs of blackbirds from bird feeders http://bit.ly/IaZlky
How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
Starlings stealing shiny money from machine http://bit.ly/uKaP8b

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