european starling what do they eat the city

european starling what do they eat the city

The European Starling is a special avian species. It stands out for its adaptability and resourcefulness. This article is about its diet in urban settings.

The European Starling is an opportunistic omnivore. It eats insects, arthropods, fruits, seeds, and berries. It looks for food in parks, gardens, and even city streets.

The European Starling is very clever. It takes advantage of human activities to get nourishment. It eats leftovers from fast food and raids bird feeders in peoples’ backyards.

The history of the European Starling in North America is fascinating. In 1890, a society released some of these birds in New York City’s Central Park. It wanted to introduce all bird species mentioned in Shakespeare’s works to North America. Unfortunately, this caused an invasive species with both positive and negative impacts on local ecosystems.

The European Starling is amazing. It finds food in unusual places. Even under pavement cracks or in city trees, these adaptable birds find sustenance. They are resilient and intelligent.

Overview of European Starlings

The European Starling is a common sight in cities. Its feathers are glossy black with iridescent purple-green highlights. These birds are not native to Europe, but were introduced to North America in the 19th century. Despite their invasive status, they have adapted well to urban environments. They can now be found across the continent!

This bird is medium-sized. It measures 7 to 9 inches in length and weighs between 60 to 100 grams. It has a pointed bill and strong legs. It is known for its impressive mimicking ability, imitating other birds and environmental sounds.

European Starlings are omnivores. They eat fruits, berries, seeds, grains, insects, spiders, worms, and even small vertebrates. In cities, they often scavenge for human food scraps from trash cans or feed on insects.

A unique story about these birds is their influence on the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is said that as a child, living in Vienna during the late 18th century, Mozart was captivated by the singing of his family’s pet starling. The intricate melodies inspired Mozart so much he even composed a short piano piece mimicking its song.

Diet of European Starlings

To know the diet of European starlings is vital for bird watchers and ornithologists. These birds have a huge variety of food like fruits, berries, seeds, and insects. They are omnivores and will eat anything. In cities, they scavenge for food in garbage bins and eat human leftovers. Also, they eat farmers’ crops like grains and fruits. They can gather in big flocks and cause destruction to the crops.

An interesting fact is that European starlings can copy other bird calls. They use this skill to find new food sources. This is a great adaptation, helping them survive and spread out.

Understanding the diet of these birds gives us knowledge about their adaptability and how they interact with their environment. It also helps us know how to maintain a balance between humans and nature.

Impact of European Starling Diet on Cities

European Starling Diet has an effect on cities. They consume bugs, fruits, berries, and grains. This diverse diet affects urban areas in multiple ways.

Impact of European Starling Diet on Cities:

  1. Pest control.
  2. Economic implications.
  3. Ecological disruptions.

European Starlings are great for pest control. Eating beetles and caterpillars helps keep crop damage down and protects vegetation in cities.

Their presence also comes with economic effects. They eat agricultural products which can make farmers lose money. And, their droppings can damage buildings and infrastructure, requiring costly repairs.

Moreover, European Starlings disrupt local ecosystems. Their aggressive behavior pushes out native birds, creating an imbalance.

This all started with Eugene Schieffelin in the late 19th century. He released around 100 European Starlings into Central Park, wanting to bring all of Shakespeare’s birds to America.

Managing European Starling Diet in Cities

Managing European starling diet in cities requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are some strategies:

  1. Reduce food waste and properly dispose of scraps and trash.
  2. Use bird feeders that allow smaller birds access to food while keeping out the larger starlings.
  3. Plant native vegetation for other birds, reducing starling scavenging in urban areas.
  4. Install visual and auditory deterrents such as scarecrows or ultrasonic devices to discourage starling visits.
  5. Utilize netting or wire mesh to keep starlings away from crops, buildings, etc.
  6. Educate communities about the negative impacts of feeding starlings and promote responsible bird feeding practices.

It is fascinating to know that European Starlings were introduced to North America by Eugene Schieffelin in 1890. His goal was to introduce all bird species mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays to the continent.


European starlings in crowded cities have adapted to a diverse diet. They eat insects, fruits, and seeds – this omnivorous nature helps them survive in urban environments.

These flexible birds feast on bugs in parks and gardens. Their sharp beaks make short work of beetles, ants, and grasshoppers.

In summer, starlings enjoy city fruit trees. Apples and cherries are irresistible treats! Even seeds from ornamental plants are up for grabs. Sunflower seeds and bird feeder grains are eagerly devoured.

To attract starlings to urban areas, provide suitable nesting sites, dense shrubs, and native fruit-bearing trees. Incorporate bird baths and water features to create bird-friendly habitats.

By understanding the needs and preferences of starlings, we can promote their presence, and enjoy their insect control services and melodic songs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do European Starlings eat in the city?
A: European Starlings have a diverse diet in the city. They primarily feed on insects, fruits, berries, and seeds. They also scavenge for food waste in trash cans and dumpsters, and occasionally consume small vertebrates like lizards or mice.

Q: Are European Starlings beneficial for the city and its ecosystem?
A: While European Starlings may be considered invasive, they can have some positive impacts in urban areas. They help control insect populations by consuming large quantities of insects, including pests harmful to agriculture. Additionally, their droppings contribute to the nutrient cycle in urban environments.

Q: Can European Starlings cause any problems in cities?
A: Yes, European Starlings can cause problems in cities. Their large flocks create noisy environments, especially during roosting. They can damage farm crops and compete with native bird species for nesting sites. Their droppings may also create sanitation issues and damage buildings.

Q: Do European Starlings migrate from the city in winter?
A: European Starlings are partially migratory, and some individuals do leave the city during winter for warmer regions. However, many starlings also stay in urban areas where they can find sufficient food and roosting sites, particularly in areas with milder climates.

Q: How can I attract European Starlings to my backyard in the city?
A: To attract European Starlings to your backyard, you can provide bird feeders with a mix of fruits, suet, and grains. They are also attracted to birdbaths for drinking and bathing. Planting native trees and shrubs that produce berries can create a food source and encourage their presence.

Q: Are European Starlings protected birds in the city?
A: No, European Starlings are not protected birds in most cities. They are considered invasive and can be legally controlle

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.