European Starling

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image: starling.jpg

Common Name: European Starling
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris

Size: 8-9 inches (22cm)

Habitat: Summers in Europe (except Greece & Iberia) and winters in Africa, Southern Asia. Introduced to North America and Australasia. Found in forest edges, farmlands and urban settings.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 310,000,000 Mature individuals. Threatened in England, European populations are in decline. Considered an invasive pest in North America.

Diet: Mostly insects, crane-fly larvae, fruit and seeds. Feeds usually on ground, often near cattle

Breeding: Four to five eggs in nest boxes and woodpecker holes.

Cool Facts: Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to imbed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, such as car alarms and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls.

They are very gregarious. “During spring in Denmark, at approximately half an hour before sunset, flocks of more than a million European starlings gather from all corners to join in incredible formations. This phenomenon is called “Black Sun” and can be witnessed in early spring throughout the marshlands of western Denmark, from March through to the middle of April. The starlings migrate from the south and spend the day in the meadows gathering food, sleeping in the reeds during the night. The best place to view this amazing aerial dance is in the place called Tøndermarsken.” (Wikipedia)

All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds released in New York's Central Park in the early 1890s. A group dedicated to introducing America to all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works set the birds free. Today, European Starlings range from Alaska to Florida and northern Mexico, and their population is estimated at over 200 million birds. Its successful spread is believed to have come at the expense of many native birds that compete with the starling for nest holes.

Found in Songbird ReMix European Edition

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