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!
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.
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 chickenfeed 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.
charles c. johnson
posted 10 years ago
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
posted 10 years ago
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.