Starlings - Not Everyone's Darlings

 Starlings tend to get a bad press as over-aggressive, greedy and petulant garden visitors; in other words, a bit of a bully. I suspect this is largely due to their gregarious nature which leads them to associate in large social groups. Of course, when they congregate in the tens and hundreds of thousands to put on their flight displays (murmurations), everybody loves them.

Photo 1: European Starling (June 2024) Enjoying a Dried Mealworm (June 2024)

Video 1: Starlings Taking over the Bird Feeder

This bully image is unfortunate because they are fascinating birds. Because of declining numbers they have been put on the Conservation Red List, albeit on the lowest classification level (Least Concern).

We are certainly seeing a lot more starlings in the garden and especially around the bird feeder. While they can take over the bird feeder (Video 1) at times, and will on occasions squabble with each other (Video 2), the other bird species (e.g. house sparrow) tend to just ignore them.

Video 2: Argumentative Starlings (June 2024)

You can read more about starlings here, here, here, here and here.

We fill our bird feeders with seed, mixed suet pellets (mealworm, insect, peanut and berry varieties), peanuts and dried mealworms. Mealworms are their favourite food, seldom lasting more than 10 minutes in the feeder; suet pellets are a firm second favourite though I don't know which variety they prefer. The young starlings seem to be overly dependant on their parents with regards feeding.

Video 3: Adult Starling Feeding Young Starling

It would be nice if the starlings could repay us for all the food they've eaten by putting on a murmuration display ...


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