In this video I share everything you could ever need or want to know about the Starling, Common Starling or European Starling. This includes what starlings eat, where starlings nest, how long starling live for and what a starlings song sounds like. Common starlings are noisy and gregarious and a familiar sight across the UK. They are found in towns and cities but also in the countryside and along the coast. They are slightly smaller than a blackbird and have a short stumpty looking tail. They often walk rather than hop and have an almost upright posture.
From a distance, starling look black but on close inspection you’ll see that their feathers are iridescent purples and greens. During the spring and summer the tip of their beak is yellow and this is also the time when it is easiest to separate the males from the females. At the base of the beak, males are greyish blue whilst the females are a faded pink colour. Young starlings are a similar shape and size but are brown in colour. Starling are very adept at mimicking noises that they hear and produce an almost electronic sounding call of random clicks and whistles. Starlings will eat fruit and berries but their main diet is invertebrates. They spend a lot of their time searching through grassy patches looking for insects, worms and spiders. They are also rather fond of the mealworms that some people put out to feed the birds. Starlings begin to nest in April with several pair nesting near to each other in cavities, nest boxes, hollow trees or other suitable sized holes. The male starts the construction creating a basic nest of twigs and then the female finishes it with grasses, feathers and moss. Each female will then lay between 4 and six blue coloured eggs and then incubate them, without much help from the males for around 12 days. The chicks then spend a further 3 weeks in the nest being fed by both parents. Once they have left the nest, the young starlings are very observant of their parents, often following them around very closely to learn how to find their own food and after a further 2 to 3 weeks they will be fully independent. At this point the pair may choose to nest again whilst their young merge with other youngsters and non breeding adults. Throughout most of the year starlings live in small flocks but during the autumn and winter, they can gather in very large groups to roost communally. Just before they settle for the night these flocks perform aerial displays, turning in unison across the evening sky. This is known as a Murmuration and is one of natures spectacles. Despite these mass gatherings, starling numbers have dropped significantly in the UK since the 1970s. There are currently around 1.8 million remaining here but this represents a decline of around 66% and so far, nobody really knows why.
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