The Starling will grow to about 22cm in length. They are known for their cheery, happy songs and for spending the winter time in our gardens. The colouring of the starling will depend on the time of year and on the bird’s age. They have a diet of caterpillars and slugs but also find food in cherry orchards and vegetable gardens. Starlings naturally nest in branches, hollow trees or wall niches. But today, they mostly love nesting boxes, lucky for you garden bird enthusiasts. In the autumn, you can watch large groups of these birds. Starlings eat insects, fruit and berries, like most birds, but also hunt lizards, frogs and even mice!
Not everyone is happy to see the starling in their garden. They are well known for being greedy but they are very sociable and can be amusing to watch. They walk confidently and their song is a combination of whistling, calling, clicking and chattering noises. They are amazing imitators and can mimic the sounds of other bird song. They can even copy the sound of other animals and of manmade objects like cars and machinery! In the evenings starlings gather in a group that can attract thousands of birds and you can see them covering the sky performing amazing tricks in the air.
Starlings are a familiar sight to all garden bird enthusiasts. They are scruffy looking birds, but if you look closer you will see their plumage is lustrous. In the winter, male starlings have white spots but as spring approaches these spots begin to fade away. The female starling has duller plumage and is oilier looking than the male. She has broader spots, some of which they keep all year round. You can also tell the sexes apart by the colour of the base of their bills. The males have a blue colour and the females have pink, very easy to remember which is which! Younger starlings look like a different species of bird because of their dull, brown plumage.
The male can be a polygamous bird, sometimes having a few families! The starling can form one large roost which includes hundreds, sometimes even thousands of birds! Like we said earlier, the starling is a very sociable bird. The starling will form a nest out of stalks, leaves and mud. They build nests anywhere from parks and gardens to holes in walls and trees. They will have 4-7 pale blue-green eggs at a time, once or twice a year. Female starlings sometimes put their eggs in another starlings nest!
Starlings love to eat insects, worms, snails, berries and fruit. Starlings are very greedy and will often fight with each other over food. Some people don’t like starlings because they greedily descend on food in flocks and will eat everything quickly, leaving nothing for the other hungry birds.
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