Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Written by www.vinehousefarm.co.uk

Overview

The Starling is a gregarious and noisy bird with a talent for mimicry. They walk and run very hurriedly on the ground. They are still one of the commonest garden birds in the UK.

The plumage is shiny black with white speckles during winter, revealing purple and greens glints in the summer sunshine. The young are grey-brown until their first moult. Numbers have declined somewhat in the last few years but it is still possible to witness the sensational aerobatic display of thousands of these birds as they prepare to roost on winter evenings. A vast cloud of thousands of birds can swirl and swoop in perfect unison as each bird follows those beside it.

Distribution

Throughout the UK in both urban and rural areas.

Habitat

Anywhere food is available. They are fond of bathing. When a group have used a birdbath, there is often hardly any water left.

Breeding

Starlings will nest communally and return to the same nest sites year after year. Breeding begins in April, two broods are usual. They make untidy nests crammed into any available cavity. When this is a roof space, they can create giant nests over many generations.

Food

Always alert for a source of food, Starlings are often seen probing soil and lawns for leatherjackets and wireworms. The adults will enjoy our mixed seed, peanuts and suet products, although they feed the nestlings exclusively on live insects so mealworms will be particularly attractive to them.

Population Trends

There are 804,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

Starling

Starling