European Starling

From Ohio History Central
European Starling.jpg

Facts

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Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Habitat: Open areas, meadows, parks, farms, and cities
Adult Weight: 2.5 - 3.5 oz.
Adult Body Length: 7.5 - 8.5 inches
Nesting Period: April - July
Broods Per Year: 2
Clutch Size: 4 - 6 per clutch
Foods: Insects, fruit, berries, seeds and grains.

Notes

The introduced European starling is the only black bird with a yellow bill. Males are very speckled. Starlings are cavity nesters, preferring hollow trees. Their rapid population growth has forced other cavity nesters, such as certain warblers, out of proper habitats, causing their populations to decline.

History

19th Century

After several unsuccessful attempts at introduction, including one in Cincinnati in 1872-73, European starlings were first introduced into the United States in 1890-91. It is said that they were released in New York by Eugene Scheffland, who wanted to bring to the U.S. all of the birds mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare.

20th Century

The first starling sighted in Ohio was in 1916. Their numbers exploded in the early 1920s until they could be found in all eighty-eight counties. By the end of the decade, flocks of 1,000 - 5,000 birds were commonly seen in the fall. At Buckeye Lake in the 1930s, a flock of over 100,000 was seen. Starlings are now permanent residents in the state, with large flocks of them being seen throughout the year. Ohio has the largest breeding population of starlings in North America.

Today, the starling is considered an aggressive pest that has caused populations of many native species to decline because of forcing them out of their habitat.

See Also

References

  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.