The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is an invasive species that is native to Europe. It was intentionally introduced in 1890 to New York City’s Central Park by the America Acclimatization Society. They released 100 birds to Central Park with the hopes of introducing the many bird species that were mentioned throughout Shakespeare’s works and seeing them represented in North America [1].

Since their introduction, the European Starling has become widespread across North America, ranging from Mexico all the way up to the Northern treeline in Canada. Already by 1950 they had spread across the North American continent and reach the Pacific Coast. They prefer open regions such as fields, pastures, lawns, marshes, and shorelines, and so, they can be found in both rural and urban settings.

Starlings are aggressive cavity nesters who live in enormous flocks, outcompeting native cavity nesting birds for nest sites. Starlings typically build nests in tree holes, nest boxes, openings in building walls, cliff crevices and rural mailboxes. They often form roosts under bridges, on ledges, or in trees. The combined weight of the birds has been known to break branches of trees. As a stewardship action to reduce this invasive alien species impact, you can repair and seal and exterior cavities where birds can nest, with openings like vents that can’t be sealed the openings should be covered with wire mesh.

European Starlings have short stubby tails and triangular wings. They are generally described as “chunky” and humpbacked birds. As adults they range 19-23cm in length with a wingspan of 31-44cm. Breeding starlings have glossy black plumage with purple and green reflections, yellow ills, and reddish brown legs. In the Fall, Starling’s bills become darker in colour and white spots develop on the body feathers.

European starlings are omnivores, feeding mainly on insects and fruit, but will also forage on human food waste and on agricultural crops [1]. For this reason, as another stewardship action, you can eliminate anthropogenic food sources which includes bird feeders for other species.

A fun fact about European Starlings is that they are excellent vocal mimics and can mimic the song of up to 20 different bird species.

  1. New York Invasive Species (IS) Information. European Starling. Updated: May 31, 2021 [accessed September 10, 2021]. Retrieved from: http://nyis.info/invasive_species/european-starling/

Lähettänyt jgilice1 jgilice1, 25. marraskuuta 2021 17:45

Kommentit

Ei vielä kommentteja.

Lisää kommentti

Kirjaudu sisään tai Rekisteröidy lisätäksesi kommentteja