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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#GBBC: European Starling

Get to know the European Starling before The Great Backyard Birdcount (#GBBC)

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. As spring approaches you will begin to see more and more starlings at the seed and suet feeders. 
Starlings always rank among “most numerous” during the Great Backyard Birdcount and you might find it difficult to give an accurate count when a flock descends on the lawn.
eBird has developed two bird counting tutorials to help you learn how to estimate numbers. The best technique to use when encountering large flocks of birds is to carefully count a sample, or section, of the flock then extrapolate your count to come up with an estimate. Check out these tutorials:
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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