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, December 26, 2010

European Starling Fun Facts

• The European Starling was introduced into North America when the "American Acclimatization Society" for European settlers released some 80-100 birds in Central Park (New York City) in 1890-91. The head of this particular organization, Eugene Scheiffelin, desired to introduce all birds ever mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare.

• Since its introduction into North America in 1891, European Starling populations have grown to over 200 million birds and they can now be found coast to coast and in Alaska.

• 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 and may have a repertoire of over 60 different types of songs.

• Starlings were at one time considered a game bird in Europe, and were hunted for food.

• 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.

• European Starlings have a highly adaptable diet and eat a wide variety of foods, such as snails, worms, millipedes, and spiders, in addition to fruits, berries, grains, and seeds.

• Starlings can play an important role in reducing the numbers of some of the major insect pests that damage farm crops.

• 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.

Source: WBU Educational Resources - Starlings

No comments: