Species Profile: Starling
Irish Garden Bird Survey Ranking 2016/17: 12th place
- In much of it's native range in Europe the Starling is declining, mainly down to less farmland and grassland invertebrates being available to feed growing chicks.
- The Starling features in a W.B. Yeats poem - "The Stare's Nest by My Window". 'Stare" or "staer" were old english names for the Starling.
- The bill of the Starling changes colour depending on the season - it's yellow during the breeding season and black during winter.
- Their repertoire of songs and noises can be hugely varied, and they can mimic songs of other bird species, and even humans!
- European Starlings were introduced to North America by a man who wanted America to have all of the birds and animals mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. He and his friends released 100 Starlings in Central Park in New York around 130 years ago. There's now estimated to be around 200 million European Starlings in North America!
|Starling Murmuration in Winter 2017. Photo via Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch Facebook Page|
Starling murmurations happen across Ireland every year, often over a reedbed or forestry roost site. Lough Ennel in Westmeath is a famously reliable site to see a murmuration , as is Albert bridge in Belfast. Our West Cork Branch have been posting regular updates on a fantastic murmuration this winter, so be sure to check out their facebook page here for more details.
For more details on the ages and journeys of ringed Starlings, see the BTO website here.
|Juvenile Starlings with orange heads - a result of feeding on the New Zealand Flax plant. Photo by B. Fitzpatrick|
|Starlings eating peanuts from a feeder. Photo by Terry Flanagan.|
Their numbers tend to show a slight increase as the winter goes on (see graph below).
|Locations where Irish and UK Starlings have also been recorded - see this link for more info: https://blx1.bto.org/ring/countyrec/resultsall/rec15820all.htm|
Click this link here for all of the details you need to build and/or put up a Starling nestbox, via the BTO.
Membership also makes a great gift for birthdays, fathers day, mothers day etc, and if you get our family membership you'll receive our Bird Detectives kids activity magazine twice a year too.