Monday, June 03, 2013


Starling- Sturnus vulgaris
The Starling was introduced from Europe in 1890, when about 100 birds were released in Central Park, New York, as part of a Shakespeare festival, and the birds now occupy most habitats in North America. The birds were first noted in Alberta in 1934. 
Starlings are very competitive with other birds for available nest holes. The male initiates nesting before the female selects the male for mating. Starlings are competitive enough to evict an existing nester. This Starling occupies a prime location along the Elbow River. The nest hole looked fresh to me, as if perhaps this Starling had evicted a woodpecker who created the nest site. 
Starling beaks have muscles arranged that facilitate "gaping" to feed in the ground. They area able to use their bills to pry open ground cover. 

Starlings feed on insects, seeds, and fruit. 

Starlings can mimic other birds including Kildeer, Red-tailed Hawk, and Sora. Mynas are in the same family. 

Starlings winter in the Calgary area. I often see large flocks. During spring the flocks are common in the rural areas where they feed in fields. 

The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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