Starlings can transmit several diseases, including encephalitis, histoplasmosis, and ornithosis. Along with the potential health risks they pose, starlings tend to produce a lot of filth via excrement and nesting material. Additionally, these birds are particularly vocal during the roosting time and can be a considerable nuisance to those nearby. Lastly, starlings are voracious feeders and pose a risk to crops (via product destruction), livestock (via disease transmission), and even lawns, where large flocks of starlings may destroy sod in search of grubs.
The European starlings was first introduced into New York City in the 1890’s and have since spread across the continental United States (including Alaska), northern Mexico and Canada.
Adult European starlings are about 7 ½ to 8 ½ inches long. They are stocky, short-tailed, and sport a long slender bill (a feature that distinguishes them from most other blackbirds). Starling plumage varies throughout the season. In spring and summer, European starlings are black with an iridescent green-purple sheen and yellow bill. In winter, however, their plumage becomes heavily speckled, and their bills become dark in color. Typically, starlings have two short legs, each bearing one rear-facing and three forward-facing toes. Juveniles appear somewhat different than their adult counterparts, with dull brown or greyish feathers and darker, almost black beaks. They are often mistaken for other bird species.
In the wild, starlings typically nest in tree cavities. However, they are opportunistic, and in urban environments, they will nest in virtually any hole or nook that is viable around a structure.
In the spring, starlings typically flock in small groups. As the season progresses, these small flocks gradually merge. Growing in number, until autumn, where birds can number into the thousands. Come winter, a portion of these flocks may migrate hundreds of miles south. While others may remain in the same area, sheltering in urban buildings or dense pine forests.
Starlings begin foraging activity at dawn and will travel upwards of 113km from their roosting sites to feed. They will return around dusk but will not enter their roosts until after sunset.
Diets vary over the season for starlings. In spring and early summer, starlings feed on insects, berries, seeds, and fruit. In late summer, however, they prefer to feed on grains instead of invertebrates. In the winter, grains make up the bulk of their diet. This dietary shift accounts for their increased presence around livestock facilities in the colder months, where animal feed is abundant. In times of scarcity, however, starlings will feed on nearly anything.
Starlings have two broods a year with each brood containing 2-8 eggs per clutch. Eggs are white, pale blue, or greenish-white and may contain dark spots. Incubation of the eggs ranges from 11-to 14 days. Fledglings typically leave their nests within 3-4 weeks. The young leave their nests shortly after their first flight (19-22 days after hatching) and join other juveniles, eventually merging with larger flocks as autumn approaches.
What damage do starlings cause?
Are starlings a health hazard?
Yes. Starling droppings contain a variety of disease-causing bacteria and fungi. These include, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, E. coli And Salmonella
How do I prevent starlings from roosting on my property before they build nests?
Remove all food sources from the site (this includes everything from bird feeders to unsecured dumpsters, garbage cans, livestock feeding equipment, and pet food containers.
If you insist on having a bird feeder, purchase a tube feeder as they are more difficult for starlings to navigate.
How do I get rid of starlings?
Total and permanent starling removal may require a long-term management plan, including a variety of products and approaches to the problem. If you’re having trouble with starlings. Contact Abell Pest Control today.
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