Immature Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris)
Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
May 29, 2010


They are regarded by most as pests but there are a few facts about these birds that many people don’t know, yet if they did they might look at these birds a little differently.

Despite their huge population, you may be surprised to know that starlings are not native to North America. In 1890, a fan of William Shakespeare’s took it upon himself to have all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings found here in America. So, along with many other species, approximately 30 pair of starlings were released in New York City and after only 30 years they could be found coast to coast. Obviously, they are highly adaptable. It is also interesting to note that it was the population explosion of starlings in the United States that resulted in laws being established controlling the importation of alien birds.

They are relatives of the mynah bird, and back in Europe, starlings are often kept in cages because they can be taught to whistle tunes. It is said by experts that if you whistle a simple tune to your bird about 50 times over the course of three days it will learn to repeat it in the exact sound and pitch of your whistle. They make wonderful pets and even mimic words such as “pretty bird” or your cat’s “meow”. In fact, in the wild they can be mistaken for robins and red-winged blackbirds because they learn to imitate the calls of other birds they flock with.

Even though starlings can be pests at your feeder throughout the winter, in the spring and summer their diet is more than half made up of insects, especially moths and japanese beetles. Any garden lover will find this a beneficial trait.

So, despite their pesky habits of robbing your feeder or defecating all around your property, try to remember the positive and interesting traits about starlings. And the next time you’re outside and you think you heard someone call your name, maybe you did.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 – 300 at 300mm
iso 100, spot metered, F6.7, 1/20 second


birds, ontario, wildlife, fledgling, immature, starlings, mikeoxley, young, nature

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

View Full Profile


  • deb cole
    deb coleover 4 years ago

    Great shot, Mike! I once had 2 starlings fly in through my chimney and out the furnace door! They made their way upstairs and ended up in my kitchen…complete chaos!!
    Great title and info, too! Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite books and Richard Harris is a favorite author!!

  • Thanks very much, Deb. This little one gave me a bit of a start. I was concentrating on the flowers in the ditch and it came charging out of the undergrowth, squawking away. Must have misplaced Ma – heard her doing the same in the trees.

    – Mike Oxley

  • deb cole
    deb coleover 4 years ago

    I mean Thomas Harris…oops! hehe

  • S’okay. I knew who you meant. :o) Did you read Red Dragon? Heebies!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Al Bourassa
    Al Bourassaover 4 years ago

    Ohhhh, cooooool title!

  • Thanks, Al!

    – Mike Oxley

  • deb cole
    deb coleover 4 years ago

    Yep, Red Dragon and Hannibal! Double Heebies!!

  • :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Kimberly Chadwick
    Kimberly Chadwickover 4 years ago

    Darling little bird Mike, well done!

  • Many thanks, Kimberly! Greatly appreciate your very kind words!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Jonice
    Joniceover 4 years ago

    Wonderful facts and shot Mike!

  • Thanks so very much, Jonice! Even though they are a major pest, I thought I’d show a little bit about their “good” side!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Fred Mitchell
    Fred Mitchellover 4 years ago

    Out here starlings are a menace second to rabbits, bit imported.

  • Couldn’t agree more, Fred.

    – Mike Oxley

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    This is a great shot of this whatsit, but I fear you can’t make me a fan of starlings no matter what you say…. I don’t like their smarmy, oily noises for one thing. We co-exist here, but if I see one eyeballing a hole in the maple tree, I make sure we discourage it. Have filled up a few holes to that end. But they are smart & successful, I’ll give ’em that.

  • Oh, I agree, Sheila. I just put that little blurb in for a lighter look at the wee buggers. We get the huge clouds of them around here – and I mean huge! And you can’t tell me they’re not doing some damage….

    – Mike Oxley

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    You’ve probably looked at the starling offerings on YouTube, but here’s one: starlings
    . I’d be interested to know how fascinating this guy would find the situation if these birds all came to roost in a tree right over his house. But it is a phenomenal display. From that one you can get to others, including a couple that show Peregrine Falcons dive-bombing starling flocks. Ain’t Nature Grand? Annoying at times, but grand nonetheless.

  • Amazing footage, Sheila. Our “clouds” are not quite that big, but not far off it. Between them and the massed crows in the winter, it’s like something Alfred might make a film about…..

    – Mike Oxley

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait