So, why feature a European species in consecutive posts, a species considered by many to be an invasive nuisance? I guess because I have the means, opportunity and motive. Even though they number in the millions (all originating from 100 birds released in New York City in the 1890s), this is the first time that I’ve seen starlings at the feeders for any length of time. And, to quote Cornell’s All About Birds fact sheet, “…they’re still dazzling birds when you get a good look”!
The aesthetic appeal of a starling lies in the striking contrast created by white-tipped, black feathers – the winter plumage.
Most of the white spots will be gone by the summer breeding season, a phenomenon referred to as “wear molting”. The spotted feathers aren’t replaced, the white tips simply wear off.
Starlings can be aggressive and sometimes compete with native birds for cavity nest sites. In this instance, they met their match: a Red-bellied Woodpecker fended off three starlings (one above, out of the frame) for feeding rights to a block of suet.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.