how to get a baby starling to open its mouth

A baby starling’s mouth can be hard to get open. But, you can do it if you understand its needs and instincts.

The bird’s parents feed it. When it wants food, it will flutter its wings, bob its head, and make chirping noises. Observe these signs to know when to give it food.

To get the baby starling to open its mouth, imitate the parent’s action. Gently stroke the area by its beak with a small object like a toothpick. This is like the parent pecking it, so it will open its mouth expecting food.

Alternatively, make sounds like a starling. Whistle or play recordings of starling calls. This familiar noise will make the baby starling open its mouth.

Be patient and keep trying. It might take a few attempts. Handle it carefully to avoid stress.

Remember: Use suitable food like softened dog kibble or special baby bird formula. Don’t give it hard food that it might choke on.

Understanding the behavior of baby starlings

Baby starlings have an amazing way to communicate. They make a tune of whistles, chatters, and trills. This vocalization is for bonding and staying connected within families. The sounds they make show their emotions – hunger, contentment, or distress.

Feeding is important for understanding baby starlings. They need lots of food to grow. Parents feed them by regurgitating food, called “beak-to-beak” feeding. This feeding also strengthens the bond between parent and young.

What’s interesting is how baby starlings open their mouths to eat. Unlike humans, they don’t open wide by themselves. Parents give cues like bill tapping or vibrating near the nestling’s beak. This stimulates them to open their mouths.

In 1890, European Starlings were brought to North America. This was to add birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works to Central Park in New York City. But, the species flourished and spread across the continent. This shows that baby starlings can adapt easily.

Step 1: Choose the right feeding method

For a successful feeding of a baby starling, selecting the right approach is key. This has a direct impact on the bird’s health and overall wellbeing.

  1. Assess the starling: Figure out if it is a nestling or a fledgling. Nestlings need more help, while fledglings can feed themselves to some extent. Also, evaluate their health and appetite.
  2. Research suitable methods: Research effective techniques for starling feeding. Examples include spoon-feeding, tube-feeding, or syringes with tiny tips for controlled feeding.
  3. Consult experts: Get advice from avian care professionals. They can offer insights on the right technique based on the bird’s needs and condition.

It is vital to remember that every baby starling may have different needs, so adapting is essential.

A tip for feeding is never to force a baby starling. If it resists or refuses food, get help from an expert right away.

Step 2: Creating a safe and comfortable environment

Ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for a baby starling is essential for their growth. Here’s a 5-step guide to guarantee their well-being:

  1. Provide a nest box of the right size and materials, like untreated wood, to copy their natural nesting sites.
  2. Keep the temperature at 85-90 degrees F, using lamps or heating pads.
  3. Place soft bedding like hay or shredded paper in the box to create a cozy space.
  4. Give them enough light like natural daylight, without overwhelming them.
  5. Reduce loud noises in the area to avoid stressing the starling.

Plus, it’s important to clean the nest box regularly. This helps keep it hygienic and avoids potential health issues for the baby starling.

Pro Tip: To create a tranquil atmosphere like their natural habitat, play soothing nature sounds near the nest box.

Step 3: Preparing the food

Feeding a baby starling requires attention to their nutrition. Here’s how:

  1. Get high-quality dry cat food from pet stores or online. This gives the bird the protein and nutrients it needs.
  2. Soak the cat food in warm water for 10 minutes. This softens it, making it easier to eat and digest.
  3. Drain the water and mash the cat food with a fork or spoon. It should be a fine paste.
  4. Put a small amount on a spoon or syringe without a needle. Make sure it’s not too hot or cold.
  5. Gently open the baby starling’s beak and place the spoon or syringe near its mouth. Let the bird peck at the food. Give it water too.

Different birds have different needs, so watch the bird’s response and adjust if needed. Feed them regularly throughout the day.

Also, keep feeding utensils clean and practice hygiene when handling the bird. This prevents infections.

Fun Fact: Baby starlings open their mouths after 10 days of hatching! They then become active, hungry, and ready to fly!

Step 4: Feeding the baby starling

Feeding a baby starling is no easy feat. It requires gentle and precise techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide to nourish these fragile creatures.

  1. Select the correct diet – Consult with a vet or avian expert to figure out the suitable food for your baby starling. Generally, hand-feeding formulas or soaked dog kibble are recommended.
  2. Ready the feeding tools – Ensure you have all the necessary equipment before attempting to feed. Use a syringe or dropper to measure the food and warm it to body heat temperature.
  3. Stimulate appetite – Place the baby starling on a soft cloth in an upright position, supporting its body. With your finger or a small object, stroke its beak from top to bottom. This mimics its parent’s beak and encourages it to open its mouth.
  4. Administer the food – Once the baby starling opens its mouth, slowly insert the syringe or dropper into its beak at an angle. Release small amounts of food into its mouth and make sure it can swallow between each feeding.
  5. Adjust frequency – Depending on the age and condition of the baby starling, you may need to adjust the frequency of feedings. As they grow older, their appetite will increase and they may need more meals throughout the day.
  6. Practice hygiene – During and after each feeding session, sterilize all utensils with boiling water or a disinfectant solution.
  7. Monitor progress – Be vigilant to any signs of discomfort, illness, or allergies. Seek guidance from an experienced avian caretaker or vet to ensure their well-being.

Each baby starling is unique and may require individual adaptations in the feeding process. Anne, a bird rescuer, nursed a baby starling back to health. After weeks of patient feeding, the once weak bird blossomed into a vibrant adult starling and flew away with gratitude.

Step 5: Encouraging the baby starling to open its mouth

Need to nurture a baby starling? Here’s a guide:

  1. Use a clean & sterilized dropper/syringe with a soft tip.
  2. Place the syringe near the beak.
  3. Gradually drip bird formula onto the side of the beak.
  4. No force-feeding; allow the bird to respond naturally.
  5. Wait for the beak to open before feeding.
  6. Give small amounts of food at a time.

Be gentle and patient. Get avian expert advice if needed.

To encourage them better, understand the natural feeding behavior of starlings. Their body language/cues (head bobbing/begging sounds) can show when they’re ready to eat.

Fun fact: In 1890, Shakespeare enthusiasts in North America wanted every bird mentioned in his plays to be present. So they introduced the European Starling.


  1. For a baby starling to open its mouth, the correct approach is key. Hold the bird in your hand and use a little tool or tweezers to simulate feeding movements near its beak. This will encourage the bird’s natural instinct to open its mouth to accept food. Be consistent and patient – this may take time for the bird.
  2. Make sure the right diet is being offered. Research or get advice from experts. The food should be soft and easy to digest, such as insects or commercial formulas for baby birds.
  3. Also, a warm and comfortable setting is important. The ideal temperature should range from 85°F to 90°F (29°C to 32°C). This mimics its natural habitat.
  4. Every bird is unique and their response may be different. A wildlife rehabilitator worked for weeks to get a baby starling to open its mouth. Just when she was about to give up, she found out that tapping the side of its beak triggered it to open eagerly.
  5. Patience and persistence are essential for these animals. When you understand their needs and characteristics, you can provide the care they need for survival.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: How to Get a Baby Starling to Open Its Mouth

Q: Why do I need to get a baby starling to open its mouth?

A: Opening the baby starling’s mouth is essential for feeding it properly. As they cannot feed themselves initially, it is necessary to hand-feed them until they learn to eat independently.

Q: How can I safely get a baby starling to open its mouth?

A: To safely open a baby starling’s mouth, you can use a small spoon or a clean, blunt object like a wooden popsicle stick. Gently press the tool against the side of its beak, and the baby bird will instinctively open its mouth.

Q: What should I feed a baby starling once its mouth is open?

A: Feed the baby starling a high-quality commercial baby bird formula or a homemade mixture. You can also mix cat food or dog food (soaked in water) with fruits and vegetables, offering a varied diet. Avoid feeding them any human food or milk.

Q: How often should I feed a baby starling?

A: Initially, baby starlings require feeding every 1 to 2 hours from sunrise to sunset. As they grow older, you can gradually reduce the frequency of feedings, following appropriate guidelines to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Q: Are there any signs that indicate a baby starling is ready to eat?

A: Yes, there are a few signs that indicate a baby starling is ready to eat. They may bob their heads up and down, make chirping noises, open their mouths wide, or move towards the feeding tool when hungry. These cues indicate they are eager to be fed.

Q: When should I consult a wildlife rehabilitator?

A: It is advisable to consult a wildlife rehabilitator if you find a baby starling that appears injured, weak, or abandoned. They are trained to handle and care for such situations, ensuring the bird receives appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.

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.