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, February 10, 2014

A closer look at the European Starling for #GBBC

Get to know your birds before the Great Backyard Birdcount (#GBBC)  

European starlings are highly vocal all year long and only go silent when they are molting in the fall. The songs of males are highly variable and have many components. They warble, click, whistle, creak, chirrup, and gurgle. European starlings are also accomplished mimics, often copying songs or sounds of other birds and animals (geese, hawks, cats), or even of mechanical sounds. Other calls include a "querrr?" sound used while in flight, a metallic 'chip' that warns of a predator's presence, and a snarling call made while attacking intruders.

Adult starlings are about 8.5 inches long. Both males and females have similar black iridescent green glossed feathers with a veneer of green and purple. In winter, the tips of the feathers have a white or cream colored "flecking" that erodes away by spring and summer.

European Starlings are omnivorous and can adapt to numerous kinds of food. In the spring starlings require large quantities of bugs, suet or nuts to meet their high protein needs. You will see them patrolling the lawn for invertebrates in the soil. Their pointed bill is adapted perfectly for probing food from the ground and catching insects.

In the winter a starling’s diet switches. Their intestines lengthen, and the wall of the gizzard increases in thickness to better absorb the nutrients from more fruits, nuts, berries and seeds. Like the robin we rarely see them visit the feeders in the winter unless there is a winter storm that covers their natural resources.

Related Articles:
- Do birds warm their feet on telephone wires? http://bit.ly/t7k91r
- Fun Facts About European Starlings http://bit.ly/rSQtFD
- How do thousands of European Starlings fly without colliding? http://bit.ly/vwM3Ra
- Amazing moment bald eagle chases down & catches a starling http://bit.ly/tnPo6z
- Starlings stealing shiny money from machine http://bit.ly/uKaP8b

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