Starlings Description

starlingThe starling is between 7.5” –8.5” tall and weighs 2 to 3 ounces. It is distinguished by its’ short, squared tail, and its long, slender bill. A starling’s plumage or feathers’ change depending on the season, ranging from a highly speckled iridescent coat and a dark beak in the cold winter months to a duller, far less speckled plumaged in the summer months.

They live between five to seven years in the wild and gather in large flocks to roost. They are an aggressive species and well adapted to urban life. They tend to nest in old trees and structures with holes and crevices.

Given their aggressive nature and large flocking habits, they commonly take over roosts of other birds, forcing them out. Their nests are enclosed with at least a 1/1/2 inch opening and they breed twice per year, giving birth to approximately eight offspring per year. The incubation period is quick, averaging twelve days and they leave the nest only twenty-five days after hatching to join juvenile flocks that move onto other territories.

Following their mating season, they enter into a flocking phase with defined feeding and roosting areas. Their diets consist of wild fruit, seeds and grains. Like all wildlife, their habits are driven by their instinct to care for their basic needs. Every morning at sunrise they travel up to sixty miles to feeding areas. Although they are not migratory birds, they do travel from open rural areas to urban areas in search of milder temperatures in warm city buildings.

Damage: Starlings present as a bird nuisance in both urban and rural areas. Their instinct to form large flocks quickly translate into a building being overrun as they establish their feeding and roosting sites. Large flocks mean mass accumulations of fecal matter and nesting debris. Bird fecal matter is highly acidic and not only creates slip and fall risks, the accumulation leads to the deterioration of all building content and components made of stone, metal, masonry and wood. Fecal build-up also presents a health risk given the bacteria, fungal agents and parasites commonly found in the feces all of which are easily transmitted through infested HVAC units and clogged drain pipes.

Starling picture from Wikipedia