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starlings

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I have never heard a kind word about starlings until today. 

An article in BackHome magazine attempts to showcase the starling in the best light possible. 

It sounds like folks went to a lot of work to get them naturalized in north america.  Wacky.

It sounds like they don't care for grain, but they do like lots of insects.  And they seem to like some fruit once in a while - but mostly they like bugs. 

 
                    
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Aren't they also nest-stealers rather than makers?  My grandpa used to shoot those with a pellet gun and I'd find them to put them in the trash.  Ah, childhood memories.....
 
Gwen Lynn
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I've just googled a few links. This one seems to have the most objective info about starlings.

http://www.wild-bird-watching.com/Starlings.html

Yes, they eat bugs. I've seen them walking in groups along roadsides hunting bugs in the grass. Marina is correct; they are aggressive, cavity nesting birds, capable of taking over nests from other cavity nesters; i.e. blue birds, martins & woodpeckers. However, starlings make their own nests as well; sometimes (unfortunately) in dryer, oven and bathroom vents.

Some of the homes in my neighborhood were constructed with the dryer vent 8 feet up on the side of the house. I've seen starlings trying to nest there. The dryer vent in our house is maybe 18" from the ground, no starling problem there, but we once had a rat trying to nest in it. Dh made a wire screen to keep critters out.

Starlings are serious bathers. When there is a small group of them in my yard, they will take over the birdbath in an instant. By the time they are done, there is very little water left and it is full of poop! Kinda annoying, but they are fun to watch. Robins really enjoy their bath time too, and I'd much rather have them at my bird bath!
 
Leah Sattler
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ack! I can't stand the noise when a flock of those birds is in the tree! my daughter calls them squeak birds. I dont' like them. they scare off and compete with my bluebirds. however they are fun to watch in the huge flocks. they look just like a school of fish in the sky. an amazing ability to synchronize their flight patterns moving like one entity. I hadn't seen them painted in positive light before.
 
charles c. johnson
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when i was much younger   i had a job killing starlings for .15 cent each

must have been redbreasted blackbirds . but everyone called them starlings
 
Gwen Lynn
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Never heard of "redbreasted" Blackbirds before. There's Redwing Blackbirds. Some people call Robins "Robin redbreast" or vice-versa. Surely you weren't whacking Robins!? 
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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We have blackbirds here that take the same niche that starlings fill elsewhere, and they are almost as bad in some ways.  They were going right through the 2" chicken wire and stealing a huge amount of chicken feed out of the feeder -- that was one of the reasons I went to hardware cloth on my chicken tractors. I don't kill them, but I certainly don't want to be feeding them expensive chicken feed!

And no, these aren't the redwing blackbirds -- we have those here, too, although I don't think I've seen any on our place.  They perch on fences along the road wherever there's a marshy area. 

Kathleen
 
charles c. johnson
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No they weren't robins . i looked it up and it may have been red winged blackbirds. however everyone in the area called them starling
 
Gwen Lynn
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Ok, I guess they could have been Brewer's Blackbirds or perhaps even Grackles. I tend to lump the Brewer's blackbirds with the Grackles. They are similar looking birds, as are the Rusty Blackbird. All have a golden eye. Red-winged, Yellow-headed Blackbirds & Starlings have a dark eye.
 
charles c. johnson
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It was in arkansas
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Starlings sometimes sing like mockingbirds.  I've heard them imitating other birds.  It seems to be when they are nesting not when in a large flock.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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