The common starling or European Starling is a medium-sized, chunky, blackbird-sized bird with short tails and long, slender beaks. It is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has glossy black plumage with a metallic sheen, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; young birds have browner plumage than the adults.
It is a noisy bird, especially in communal roosts and other gregarious situations, with an unmusical but varied song.
European starlings are not native to the U.S. They were purposefully introduced from Europe into this country. After two failed attempts, about 60 European starlings were released into New York’s Central Park in 1890 by a small group of people with a passion to introduce all of the animals mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare.
These birds are quite common around my house from June through August. Starlings are attracted to both seed and suet feeders, and their aggressive habits can deplete food supplies and keep smaller birds from approaching.
In flight their wings are short and pointed, making them look rather like small, four-pointed stars (and giving them their name).
I have tried discouraging starlings using some different styles of feeders and by the feed I put out.
Because starlings have difficulty cracking the commercially available black sunflower seeds, these can be offered in feeders.
Because starlings have difficulty landing on a small perch, making the perches on a feeder smaller by sawing them, or removing the perches altogether, can keep starlings off.
Starlings may also be deterred by small feeders that swing and twirl whenever the heavy birds land on them.
They do seem to really like the suet feeder and will devour a cake in a matter of days. I have resorted to scaring them away from the suet feeders or taking the suet down during times when they are plentiful.
Juveniles are pale brown overall with a dark bill.