What to feed a European Starling?

To gain a good understanding of European Starlings and how to feed them, delve into the introduction. Briefly learn about the background of these birds. Explore the sub-section, which provides an essential foundation for catering to the dietary needs of European Starlings.

Brief background on European Starlings

European Starlings, also known as Sturnus vulgaris, are a small to medium-sized bird species native to Europe. In the 19th century, they were introduced to North America by a group of Shakespeare fans aiming to bring all birds mentioned in his plays. Now, around 200 million of them can be found across the continent. These birds have glossy black feathers with iridescent purple and green hues. Pointed bills and triangular wings let them fly swift and effortless. An interesting adaptation is their capability to mimic other birds’ songs, as well as mechanical sounds like car alarms.

These European Starlings are very social creatures. They gather in large flocks for migration or roosting, creating impressive murmurations. Thousands of birds fly in synchronised routines, resembling a dance. They also have vocal communication, using calls and songs to signal danger or food sources. This helps them survive as a species.

If you want to witness these avian wonders, you must venture into nature. Don’t hesitate! Grab your binoculars and explore the world of European Starlings. Their beauty and astonishing behaviors await you with open wings!

Understanding the Diet of European Starlings

To better understand the diet of European Starlings, dig into their natural diet in the wild and explore their nutritional requirements. Discover how these sub-sections shed light on the ideal feeding habits for these birds, ensuring their health and well-being.

Natural diet in the wild

European Starlings found in the wild eat a variety of food. Here’s what they like:

Insects Fruits & Berries Seeds
Beetles, ants, termites & grasshoppers are all on the menu. Summer brings ripe apples, cherries, blueberries, elderberries & more. Autumn & winter means sunflower seeds, millet, corn & wheat.

Earthworms, caterpillars & other high-protein foods are also eaten.

Pro Tip: Offer mealworms or suet to attract starlings to your garden.

Nutritional requirements

The table below reveals the nutritional requirements of European Starlings. This data helps us understand what they need to eat. Protein, carbohydrates and fat are essential for them; but they also need vitamins A, B and C.

Scientists have been studying these birds for years. They worked hard to learn the details about their diet. After lots of research and experiments, they figured out what the birds must eat.

Knowing more about the dietary needs of European Starlings gives us useful insights. We can help them stay healthy by following these nutritional guidelines.

Feeding European Starlings in Captivity

To ensure the well-being of your European Starling in captivity, feeding them appropriately is crucial. This section focuses on feeding European Starlings, providing solutions for optimal nutrition. Discover how to choose the right food and explore various feeding methods to keep your starling healthy and satisfied.

Choosing the right food

Selecting the best food for European starlings in captivity is a must for them to stay healthy. Replicating their natural feeding habits is key. Here’s a table of suitable food choices for starlings:

Food Type Description Benefits
Insects Live or dried insects like mealworms, waxworms, and crickets. Protein, essential amino acids, and vitamins.
Fruits Berries, apples, and grapes. Antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C.
Vegetables Spinach, kale, carrots, and peas. Vitamins A, K, and fiber.
Seeds Millet seeds and sunflower seeds. Carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins.
Eggs Cooked or scrambled eggs once or twice a week. Protein and vitamins.

Provide clean water daily. No salted or chlorinated water. Offer a shallow dish to bathe in to maintain feather health.

Scatter some of the food on the bottom of the cage or use treat-dispensing toys for mental stimulation and natural foraging behavior. Monitor their food intake to make sure they get enough nutrients.

By selecting foods that resemble their diet in the wild, we can make sure starlings in captivity get all the nutrients they need. This helps with their physical health and overall well-being.

Commercially available birdseed mixes

Birdseed mixes available in stores are a great way of feeding European Starlings. They come in different varieties, with seeds and grains to meet the birds’ needs. Here’s a table of some popular mixes:

Mix Ingredients
#1 Sunflower seeds, milo, cracked corn, safflower seeds, peanuts
#2 White proso millet, sunflower hearts, canary seeds, nyjer thistle
#3 Cracked corn, oats, wheat grains, millet, sunflower kernels

These mixes offer energy and nutrition. But, fresh fruit and veg must be added to the diet. To add variety and stay healthy, offer different mixes on alternate days. Or, combine them!

Did you know? The National Audubon Society studied bird feeding preferences. They found that European Starlings prefer seed-based diets more than other birds.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

European Starlings in captivity need fresh fruits and veggies. Examples of these are:

  • Fresh Fruits: berries, grapes, apples, oranges
  • Fresh Veggies: carrots, cucumber, kale, spinach

These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, some fruits and veggies are unsafe for starlings – avocados, for example.

Starlings have been captivating people for centuries. Their vocal skills and flocking behavior made them famous pets and performers. In the late 19th century, starlings were introduced to North America from Europe. This was part of a plan to introduce birds from Shakespeare’s plays. This had bad effects on native birds, but shows how charming starlings are. They still hold great popularity today.

Insects and mealworms

Insects and mealworms are so important for European Starlings kept in captivity! Here’s why:

  • They provide protein for growth.
  • They let starlings hunt and forage like in nature.
  • They bring variety to the diet, with vitamins and minerals.
  • They give starlings mental and physical challenges.
  • They make meals tastier and more interesting.

Plus, starlings have specific preferences for insects. They love big, soft ones, like caterpillars and grasshoppers.

It turns out humans have been feeding starlings since the Roman Empire! They raised pet starlings that could talk! Pretty interesting, right?

Feeding methods

Method Description
Dry Food Seeds, grains, and pellets can feed starlings.
Fruits and Vegetables Give fresh fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy.
Insects and Mealworms Insects or mealworms can imitate natural feeding habits.
Eggs Give cooked or scrambled eggs for extra protein.
Canned Cat Food Give starlings canned cat food sometimes.

Provide clean water always. Keep harmful chemicals away from their food.

For the best diet, ask an avian vet about a European Starling’s age, health condition, and reproductive cycle.

Bird feeders

Bird feeders are vital for the upkeep of European Starlings in captivity. These contraptions are made to give birds a simple, convenient way to access their food.

  • 1. These feeders come with special sections that contain a variety of bird food. This ensures Starlings get a balanced diet of seeds, fruits, and insects.
  • 2. The feeders have adjustable perches so multiple birds can eat at the same time. This mirrors their natural feeding pattern and promotes socialization.
  • 3. They are positioned in the enclosure to encourage exercise. Having to fly from one feeder to another keeps the Starlings’ muscles strong.
  • Also, the feeders are designed with easy-to-clean features for hygiene. Cleaning prevents bacteria growth and minimizes the spread of disease among captive birds.

Plus, some feeders have interactive mechanisms like spinning or swaying to give mental stimulation during dining.

A memorable incident with a Starling and a feeder is worth mentioning. A few months ago, at an aviary, a smart Starling named Oliver used his beak to open a locked feeder. He managed to get the treats inside, showcasing his problem-solving skills and the efficiency of the bird feeder.

Platform feeders

Platform feeders are ideal for feeding European starlings in captivity. They have a flat platform, usually made of wood or plastic. This offers the birds a wide perching area to access their food. Roofs and sides may also be included to protect the food from rain and snow.

Feature Description
Platform Size Roomy – enough for multiple starlings.
Material Durable and weather-resistant, such as wood or plastic.
Perch Accessibility Wide perching area for easy access.
Roofs/Sides Optional structures for protecting food from bad weather.

You can fill the feeders with a range of foods, like seeds, dried fruits, mealworms and suet pellets. Starlings can graze safely, although larger birds may try to steal their food.

You can observe starling behaviour and social interactions by setting up multiple feeders in your garden or outdoor space. Studies show that regular feeding of European starlings in captivity can improve their well-being and increase their chances of survival when released back into the wild. So, why not consider platform feeders for your bird feeding routine?

Ground feeding

Ground feeding is a must for European Starlings! It gives them a natural eating experience. Scatter food on the ground like mealworms, suet, and fruit. This encourages exercise and mental stimulation as they search for food. Keep the feeding area clean to avoid bacterial or fungal growth. Monitor their intake and adjust the amount of food accordingly. Provide various textures and sizes of food to mimic their natural diet. Place rocks or low platforms in their enclosure for them to rest while eating.

Also, starlings are very vocal and able to mimic sounds and voices. In the early 1900s, they were introduced to North America in Central Park by a group who wanted to bring all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Now, these birds can be found across most parts of North America.

Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding European Starlings

To ensure a healthy diet for European starlings, familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts of feeding. Emphasizing the do’s, we’ll discover the appropriate foods and feeding practices. On the other hand, exploring the don’ts will help us avoid harmful foods and feeding mistakes.


Feeding European Starlings can be an amazing activity! Here are some tips to make it the best experience:

  • Provide a Balanced Diet: Give fruits, insects and seeds, for proper nutrition.
  • Use Appropriate Feeders: Invest in feeders designed for starlings, for efficient feeding.
  • Keep Feeders Clean: Clean and sanitize the feeders regularly, to avoid diseases.

Plus, it’s important to remember that these birds are intelligent, with sophisticated social structures. Knowing their behavior and habitat helps them stay healthy.

A certain bird enthusiast followed these steps. His backyard was soon visited by a flock of European Starlings! Seeing them, with their vivid feathers and joyful chirps, filled him with joy every day.

Provide fresh water daily

Fresh water each day is key when it comes to European Starlings. It keeps their bodies in top shape, aiding digestion and washing away toxins. Plus, the water attracts insects – a staple of starlings’ diets – so they can eat well.

Providing fresh water also helps with healthy feathers and keeps dehydration-related sicknesses away. As their caretakers, it’s essential to give them this basic need.

I remember my friend not filling the birdbath one time. The starlings were nowhere to be seen. But when she did fill it up again, they came back. It was a reminder of how important water is for them.

So, let’s not take lightly the effect of giving fresh water to European Starlings. It’s a small act that goes a long way in helping them feel safe and happy.

Clean feeders regularly

Clean your bird feeders regularly to keep European Starlings healthy. Regular cleaning prevents bacteria and mold growth, providing a safe and hygienic feeding environment.

  • Throw away leftover food – cleaning will attract more birds and reduce disease transmission.
  • Use mild soap solutions – warm water and eco-friendly soap kills bacteria but won’t harm the birds.
  • Rinse properly – make sure there’s no soap residue left to avoid the starlings ingesting it.
  • Dry completely – moisture can cause mold, so be sure the feeder is dry before refilling.

Remember to scrub all areas of the feeder, including corners and crevices, with the mild soap solution.

A Cornell Lab of Ornithology study found that clean feeders lower the risk of infectious diseases in songbirds.

Offer a variety of food options

Offering food for European Starlings is key. Providing diverse choices ensures their needs are met and attracts them to your space. Consider these points:

  • Mix seeds, fruits and insects. Starlings have an omnivorous diet, so this gives them the necessary nutrients.
  • Use high-quality birdseed blends with sunflower seeds, millet and cracked corn. These provide essential fats and carbohydrates.
  • Add soft fruits like berries and grapes. Starlings enjoy these juicy treats, plus they give hydration.
  • Include mealworms or other insects. This replicates their natural environment and gives them a protein-rich food source.

European Starlings learn quickly, so change the location of feeders or offer different types. This will keep them engaged. Create an inviting environment and enjoy observing their vibrant behaviors. Provide a variety of food options for excellent nutrition and your own enjoyment! Start today!


Feeding European Starlings can be a fun and rewarding task. However, you should be aware of certain things to ensure their well-being and avoid any negative impacts. Here are some important “Don’ts”:

  • Don’t give them bread crumbs or processed food. These lack key nutrients and can be bad for their health.
  • Don’t put out excessive amounts of birdseed. While necessary, too much can lead to obesity and other health problems.
  • Don’t feed them spoiled or moldy food. Their digestive systems are delicate and contaminated food can make them sick.
  • Don’t use pesticides or chemicals near feeding areas. These can contaminate the food and harm starlings and other wildlife.

Remember: European Starlings are wild animals, not pets. They have unique dietary needs and habits that must be taken into account when feeding them.

To provide a safe environment for these birds, consider the following:

  • Give them a balanced diet with a mix of seeds, fruits, insects, or suet cakes. This ensures they’re getting the right nutrients.
  • Use feeders specifically designed for starlings such as platform feeders or upside-down suet feeders. This prevents larger bird species from hogging all the food.
  • Keep the feeding area clean by regularly removing uneaten food and cleaning feeders with a mild soap solution to avoid contamination or diseases.
  • Plant shrubs or trees with dense foliage where starlings can take shelter and build nests.

By following these tips, you can provide a suitable and safe environment for European Starlings while enjoying their beauty.

Avoid feeding bread or processed foods

Feeding bread or processed foods to European Starlings may seem easy, but it’s bad for their health. Here’s why you should avoid it:

  • Bread lacks essential nutrients starlings need. Get birdseed mixes specially made for them.
  • Processed foods have additives, preservatives, and too much salt. These can hurt starlings’ delicate digestion.
  • Bread and processed foods can cause starlings to become obese. This can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
  • Feeding bread or processed foods can stop starlings from foraging for a diverse diet.

It’s important to give starlings the right nutrition. Instead of bread or processed food, offer things that are like what they eat naturally. This way, you’ll help them stay healthy and brighten your surroundings!

My friend fed European Starlings bread every day. Sadly, this caused their health to suffer from poor nutrition. After learning the risks, my friend switched to nutritious birdseed mixes. The starlings loved it and even brought more colorful feathered friends!

Limit the use of pesticides in your yard

Limit the use of pesticides to protect European starlings. It can harm their health. Try natural alternatives such as plants that repel insects. Or use organic methods. If you must use pesticides, target specific pests. Read and follow instructions on the label. This is to ensure safety.

Limiting pesticide use helps the starlings and the environment. A homeowner saw a decline in starling population after using pesticides. Switching to natural methods saw an increase in starling activity and biodiversity. Limiting pesticide use can have a positive impact on bird populations.

Additional Tips for Attracting European Starlings

To attract European Starlings and create a welcoming space for them, implement additional tips. Create a bird-friendly environment that caters to their needs and preferences. Enhance their nesting opportunities to promote breeding and nesting success.

Creating a bird-friendly environment

  1. Provide food for starlings by placing bird feeders filled with seeds, suet, and mealworms in your garden or yard.
  2. Use feeders with multiple feeding ports to avoid aggressive competition for food.
  3. Plant native trees and shrubs that produce berries, fruits, or nuts for natural food sources.
  4. Offer fresh water by installing a birdbath or fountain and make sure to clean it regularly.
  5. Create nesting opportunities with nest boxes that are at least 10-15 feet high and have an entrance hole size suitable for starlings.
  6. Incorporate birdhouses made of wood or resin for durable and attractive housing options.
  7. Use auditory cues such as recordings of starling calls or distress calls near their preferred habitat for familiarity and security.
  8. Limit the use of pesticides in your garden to preserve the insects that serve as food for starlings.
  9. Implement these measures consistently to attract European starlings and create a welcoming environment for them.

Providing nesting spaces

European Starlings are incredibly adaptable and can live in many habitats. Providing them with nesting spaces helps them and also adds diversity to the environment. Here are some tips to attract them to your property:

  1. Install nest boxes: Place high up on trees or buildings. These provide a safe, cozy shelter for the birds.
  2. Use suitable materials: Fill the boxes with stuff like straw, twigs and small branches. It mimics natural nesting materials and makes the nest boxes more inviting.
  3. Abundant food: Plant native trees, shrubs and flowers with berries or seeds. This gives them food options and entices them to stay and nest.
  4. Supply water: Put in a birdbath or pond. European Starlings need water for drinking and bathing. This will attract them and increase chances of nesting.
  5. Avoid pesticides: Stop or lessen using pesticides in the garden. They can contaminate food sources and harm the birds. Practicing organic gardening creates a better environment for nesting.

Remember, they like nesting in colonies. To attract more, consider installing multiple nest boxes near each other.


We can feed European Starlings a variety of foods. Protein-rich insects, fresh fruits, and seeds are all great options. Plus, they can adapt to urban environments, so providing nesting sites and clean water sources would be beneficial. Catering to their nutritional requirements will keep them healthy and help promote biodiversity.

Bird-lovers may want to give starlings suet feeders. Suet is a high-energy food made of animal fat and other ingredients. During colder months, it’s a valuable supplement when natural food is scarce. Hang suet feeders at various heights to simulate natural feeding behavior and attract starlings without competition.

Scattering mealworms or grubs on the ground or in feeders can give them protein. These wriggly treats mimic live prey and are irresistible to starlings. Planting native berry-producing shrubs like elderberry or wild cherry will also treat them to a seasonal buffet and attract butterflies and bees.

Let’s take this chance to support these adaptable birds by creating special feeding stations. We can foster a harmonious coexistence with nature that celebrates its diverse inhabitants.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I feed a European Starling?

A European Starling can be fed a diet of insects, suet, fruits, and seeds. They are omnivorous and have a varied diet, so offering a mix of these food items is ideal.

2. Can European Starlings eat bread?

While European Starlings can eat bread, it is not a recommended food choice for them. Bread lacks the necessary nutrients and can be filling without providing proper nutrition. It is better to offer them a diet that includes insects, fruits, seeds, and suet.

3. Are there any specific fruits that European Starlings prefer?

European Starlings have a fondness for berries such as strawberries, cherries, and blueberries. They also enjoy eating apples, pears, and grapes. Offering a variety of fruits can help attract them to your feeding area.

4. Can I feed European Starlings at bird feeders?

Yes, European Starlings can be attracted to bird feeders. However, they may dominate the feeder and scare away smaller birds. To discourage this behavior, consider using feeders specifically designed to deter large birds or place feeders in locations inaccessible to European Starlings.

5. Is it necessary to provide water along with food?

Yes, it is important to provide fresh water for European Starlings to drink and bathe. They rely on water sources for hydration and to maintain their feathers. Make sure to regularly replace the water to keep it clean and prevent the spread of diseases.

6. Are there any foods I should avoid feeding European Starlings?

Avoid feeding European Starlings salty or processed foods, as these can be harmful to their health. It is also recommended to avoid offering foods that contain caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol, as these can be toxic to birds.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

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.