what to feed a starling

Starlings are charismatic birds that have intrigued bird watchers for centuries. Their dazzling feathers and melodic singing make them a popular choice! But what do starlings eat? Here, we will explain the diet of starlings and offer helpful tips on how to give them proper nutrition.

As omnivores, starlings eat both plants and protein-rich food. They like berries, apples, and cherries, as well as seeds like sunflower and millet.

Protein is necessary for starlings’ growth and development. They particularly love live or dried insects, like mealworms, crickets, and beetles. Food like this supplements their diet and also encourages their foraging.

Surprisingly, starlings are known to go to bird feeders to find energy-rich foods, such as suet cakes. These blocks of animal fat are especially attractive during cold months when food is scarce. Including suet cakes in starlings’ diets can help them survive the winter.

The story of feeding starlings goes back to the late 19th century when a group of people introduced European Starlings to North America. They were released as part of an attempt to introduce all William Shakespeare’s birds to the continent. Since then, starlings have flourished in North America, captivating bird admirers and scientists.

Brief overview of starlings and their dietary needs

Starlings are intriguing birds. Their diet is varied; insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and even small vertebrates like lizards and mice!

To meet their needs, they forage in grasslands and fields. They use their sharp beaks to probe the ground. Plus, they can mimic sounds to attract prey.

To keep up energy levels, starlings need to refuel throughout the day. During breeding seasons, they consume more food. Sometimes, flocks of starlings gather in trees or bushes to find sustenance.

Surprisingly, starlings have favorite foods depending on where they live. For example, those near coasts may prefer mollusks and crustaceans.

Researchers at Cornell University discovered that starlings help crops by eating large amounts of insects that are harmful. This shows how vital starlings are to ecosystems and agriculture.

The basic diet for starlings

Starlings have a diverse diet that consists of a variety of foods. Their diet primarily includes insects, fruits, berries, and seeds. They also feed on suet, mealworms, and nectar. Additionally, starlings are known to consume small vertebrates and feed on garbage and carrion. It is important to provide a balanced diet to ensure their nutritional needs are met. Avoid feeding them processed or salty foods, as these can be harmful to their health. Starlings are adaptable and opportunistic feeders, capable of thriving in urban and rural environments alike, thanks to their flexible dietary choices.

In summary, the basic diet for starlings includes insects, fruits, berries, seeds, suet, mealworms, nectar, small vertebrates, garbage, and carrion. It is crucial to offer a wide range of food options to ensure their overall well-being and nutritional intake. Understanding their dietary preferences and avoiding harmful foods will contribute to their thriving population.

A unique attribute of starlings is their ability to mimic sounds and songs. They are renowned for their remarkable vocal abilities, which allow them to imitate other bird species’ calls and even human sounds. This adaptive trait enables them to communicate and be versatile in various environments. Their melodious songs and unique vocalizations add to their charismatic charm.

In line with starlings’ vocal abilities, there was a famous case where a pet starling named “Whisper” became a viral sensation. Whisper was raised by a family and learned to mimic various sounds, including laughter, phone ringings, and even the sounds of household appliances. The captivating charm of Whisper’s mimicry brought joy to many, showcasing the intelligence and adaptability of starlings as pets.

Remember, a varied and nutritious diet is crucial for starlings’ well-being and can help support their unique abilities and diversity. Appreciating and understanding these amazing birds will pave the way for their continued thriving presence in our ecosystem.

“Seeds and grains: the stuff that turns ordinary birds into high-flying masterpieces – or at least keeps them well-fed enough to poop on your car.”

Seeds and grains

Starlings are known for their love of sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn! Sunflower seeds are packed with protein and healthy fats, while millet is full of minerals such as manganese and phosphorus. Cracked corn is easy for starlings to digest and offers a great source of carbs. Plus, their crunchy texture makes them extra enjoyable.

Apart from these three staples, starlings also enjoy other types of grains such as oats, wheat, and barley, providing them with a variety of nutrients.

Fun fact: these birds are renowned for their vocal abilities – they can imitate the songs of other birds and even the sounds of their environment! By offering a range of seeds and grains, we can support the starling population and appreciate their singing.

Fruits and berries

Fruits and berries are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants vital to starlings’ health. Apples, grapes, cherries and blueberries give them different flavors and textures. Place these in bird feeders or scatter on trays for easy access. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries add variety to their diet.

Keep in mind that freshness is key when offering fruits and berries to starlings. Don’t give them rotten or overripe ones to avoid health issues. Clean bird feeders regularly to prevent bacteria or mold growth.

For success, consider the following:

1. Provide a variety of fruits.
2. Offer seasonal produce.
3. Place feeders near trees/shrubs.
4. Monitor consumption.

These tips can help you give fruits and berries to starlings effectively, ensuring their health and well-being.

Insects and worms

Let’s look at the starling’s menu! Here’s what they like to eat: beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, moths, ants and more. Plus, they love earthworms, mealworms, maggots, waxworms and cockchafer larvae.

If you want starlings in your garden, create a habitat with native plants that attract small insects and worms. Include hiding places too. That way, starlings will come to snack on their favorite treats.

Supplementing the diet with bird feeders

Supplementing the avian diet with bird feeders is a beneficial practice. It enhances the overall nutrition of starlings and contributes to their well-being.

Firstly, bird feeders provide a convenient and reliable source of food for starlings, ensuring they receive a balanced diet.

Secondly, feeders attract a diverse range of bird species, creating an opportunity for starlings to socialize and learn from other birds.

Lastly, bird feeders offer a steady supply of food during harsh weather conditions or when natural food sources are scarce, assisting starlings in their survival efforts.

These unique considerations highlight the importance of supplementing starlings’ diets with bird feeders.

To ensure optimum nutrition and well-being for starlings, installing bird feeders is crucial. These feeders not only provide a convenient and reliable food source but also create opportunities for starlings to learn and socialize with other bird species. Moreover, bird feeders are especially important during harsh weather conditions or when natural food sources are limited. By supplementing starlings’ diets with bird feeders, we can support their survival and contribute to the diversity of bird life in our surroundings.

Wishing to enhance your understanding on bird feeding? Explore our wide range of bird feeders and make sure you don’t miss out on creating a vibrant and lively bird community in your backyard. Don’t let the fear of missing out hold you back from experiencing the joy of watching starlings and other bird species thrive in your own environment. Act now and make a difference!

Finding the perfect bird feeder for your starling is like swiping left or right on Tinder, but with more seed options and zero commitment issues.

Choosing the right bird feeder

Picking the ideal bird feeder is a must for successful diet supplementation. Here are 6 things to note:

  • Type: Different birds like different feeders, e.g. platform, hopper or tube.
  • Material: Check if plastic or metal is durable enough.
  • Size: Get one with enough capacity for the birds in the area.
  • Accessibility: Look for feeders with trays or perches that are easy to get to and comfortable to dine on.
  • Protection: Find a feeder that has features like rain covers or squirrel guards.
  • Cleaning: Make sure the feeder can be disassembled and cleaned easily.

Another thing to think about is feeding methods. Watching the birds and their preferences is key. It’s cool how their habits differ from one species to another.

I recall when I got a tube feeder that attracted finches and sparrows. Then a flock of blue jays started coming! It was awesome to see these vibrant birds clinging to the tiny perches as they ate.

Providing different types of bird feed

Offer a variety of seeds such as sunflower, millet, and safflower for a wide range of birds. Hang suet cakes in cages to prevent squirrels from snacking. Hummingbirds like nectar feeders with a sweet solution of water and sugar. Fruit-eating birds enjoy apples, oranges, or grapes, plus dried berries. Fill nut feeders with peanuts or hazelnuts to appeal to woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Remember to keep feeders clean to avoid disease. Place them in easy-to-spot yet safe spots to dissuade predators like cats. For more bird visitors, place different feeds in separate places in the garden. Enjoy the beauty and harmony that birds bring when you provide them with a cozy place to dine!

Placing the bird feeder in the right location

To make your bird feeder even better, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a spot near shelter. Put the feeder in a place close to trees and shrubs. This way the birds can easily reach it without feeling unsafe.
  2. Avoid busy areas. Don’t place the feeder too close to roads, driveways, or places with lots of people. Too much noise and movement can scare the birds away. Look for calmer places in your garden.
  3. Make sure the bird feeder is visible. Place it in an open area with nothing blocking it from view. The birds need to be able to spot it quickly.

To make your bird feeder even better:

  • Experiment with different heights. Ground level, elevated, or hanging feeders can all work. Have multiple ones to attract different kinds of birds.
  • Clean the surroundings. Remove fallen seeds and debris. This stops mold and disease from spreading.

Create a habitat that both attracts and takes care of the birds. They will enjoy dining in your establishment.

Tips for attracting starlings to your garden

Tips for Attracting Starlings to Your Garden:

  1. Create a diverse environment: Provide a variety of vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and flowers, as well as water sources such as birdbaths or ponds.
  2. Offer suitable nesting sites: Install birdhouses or provide natural cavities in trees to attract starlings for nesting.
  3. Provide food sources: Offer a mix of seeds, berries, and insects in bird feeders or scattered on the ground. Consider using suet or mealworms as well.
  4. Reduce pesticide use: Minimize the use of pesticides, as starlings rely on insects for food and may be deterred by chemical treatments.

Additionally, keep in mind that starlings are social birds and prefer to be in groups. Therefore, creating an inviting environment with ample space and resources will increase the likelihood of attracting them to your garden.

On a similar note, a bird enthusiast named John shared his experience of attracting starlings to his garden. By following these tips, he was able to create a vibrant habitat that attracted a flock of starlings. John observed their playful interactions and melodious songs, bringing joy and a delightful ambiance to his garden.

A bird-friendly environment is all about setting the stage for starling Shakespeare to perform his raucous version of Hamlet – complete with plenty of food options for the dramatic avian actors.

Creating a bird-friendly environment

Birds bring life and color to gardens! To attract starlings, build a bird-friendly environment. Here’s how:

  • Provide food like suet, mealworms, and seeds.
  • Plant native trees and shrubs for shelter and nesting.
  • Place feeders in elevated areas safe from predators.
  • Keep your garden clean and healthy.
  • Provide a shallow water source like a birdbath.

More tips:

  • Offer diverse vegetation to attract various insects.
  • Use natural materials for birdhouses and nesting boxes.

Pro Tip: Avoid using pesticides. They can harm birds that rely on bugs for food.

Using bird calls or chirping sounds

For centuries, people have used bird calls or chirping sounds to attract starlings. This method has been successful for study and observation purposes.

To make starlings more comfortable in your garden, you can play recorded bird calls or chirping sounds. Devices like speakers or bird call machines can emit these sounds throughout the day. Be sure to research and choose the appropriate bird calls for starlings. Different species may respond differently.

Additionally, bird feeders and birdbaths can further entice starlings to visit your garden.

Providing a water source

Attracting starlings to your garden? Provide them a water source! It’ll let them drink, bathe and cool off during hot summer days. A shallow bird bath or fountain will be super effective.

Starlings have a thing for water. Keep the water clean and fresh. Change it often to keep it appealing and to prevent bad bacteria from growing.

Adding levels to the bird bath will make it more fun for them. They love hopping from one level to another and splashing around. Add a sloping edge or rocks for them to perch and interact.

There’s a historical connection between starlings and water sources. Ancient Romans kept starlings as pets due to their ability to mimic human speech. Some say they were even taught to recite poems while having baths!

So, provide starlings a water source in your garden and enjoy their presence. They’ll love to splash around and bathe, and you’ll love their joyous presence.

Potential dangers and precautions

Potential hazards and precautions to consider when feeding a starling:

  • Avoid feeding starlings bread, as it can expand in their stomachs and cause blockage.
  • Be cautious with feeding peanuts, as they can carry a fungus known as aflatoxin, which is harmful to birds.
  • Ensure that any fruits or vegetables provided are not contaminated with pesticides or herbicides.
  • Avoid feeding starlings spoiled or moldy food, as it can lead to illness or infection.
  • Keep bird feeders clean and hygienic to prevent the spread of diseases among starlings.
  • Avoid using pesticides or insecticides near areas where starlings feed to prevent accidental poisoning.

It is essential to be mindful of these potential dangers and take the necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of starlings.

A unique detail to consider is that starlings have a keen sense of hearing and can mimic a wide range of sounds, including other bird calls and even human speech. This ability has earned them the reputation of being excellent “mimicry performers” in the bird world.

(Source: National Wildlife Federation)

Feeding your starling toxic food is a sure way to make your heart flutter, just like the bird’s.

Avoiding toxic foods

It’s crucial to know about toxic foods and their effects. Educate yourself on the common ones like raw fish, undercooked meats, and wild mushrooms. Read food labels and be aware of additives and preservatives. Also, practice good hygiene and properly store your food.

But there are some less known risks, such as apple seeds or cherry pits which contain small amounts of cyanide. For a stark reminder, my friend had anaphylactic shock from a dish with undeclared peanuts.

Be careful of toxic foods – it’s not just about avoiding immediate harm, but also long-term health. Stay informed, read labels, and handle your food with care to protect yourself.

Protecting the bird feeder from predators

  1. Choose a strategic location for your bird feeder: Place it at least 10 feet from any structures or trees that could provide access to predators like squirrels, raccoons, or cats.
  2. Invest in a squirrel-proof feeder with mechanisms that close access for larger animals.
  3. Attach baffles and guards around the pole or hanging structure.
  4. Use elevated feeders on poles or suspended from trees.
  5. Clean the feeder and dispose of food waste.
  6. Put plants or shrubs around the feeding area for birds to seek refuge if they sense danger.
  7. Be aware of local wildlife patterns and adjust the feeding schedule.
  8. Try a creative solution like a motion-activated sprinkler to scare away predators.
  9. Let’s protect nature and cherish the birds in our lives.


It’s clear that feeding a starling needs careful consideration and following their dietary needs. Providing insects, fruits, and seeds helps ensure their optimal health.

Supplementing their diet with high-quality bird feed is recommended. This gives essential nutrients and encourages natural foraging. Adding mealworms or suet offers a source of protein and fat.

Creating a sustainable environment is essential for starlings. Providing nesting boxes or hollow logs gives shelter during breeding seasons and encourages them to stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I feed a starling?

Starlings can eat a variety of foods, including fruits, insects, and grains. It is best to provide them with a balanced diet that includes a mixture of these foods to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

2. Can I feed a starling bread?

While starlings may eat bread, it should not be their primary food source. Bread lacks essential nutrients and can be harmful if fed in excess. It is better to offer them a mix of fruits, insects, and grains for a healthier diet.

3. Can starlings eat birdseed?

Yes, starlings can eat birdseed. However, they may prefer other foods, so it is recommended to offer them a variety of foods to keep their diet balanced. Additionally, starlings may compete with other birds for birdseed, so it’s important to monitor their feeding habits.

4. Is it safe to feed starlings suet?

Yes, it is safe to feed starlings suet. Suet is a high-energy food that can be beneficial for starlings, especially during colder months. However, offering suet in moderation is advised, as it can be high in fat.

5. What fruits are suitable for feeding starlings?

Starlings enjoy a range of fruits, including berries, apples, and grapes. It is best to offer ripe fruits that are soft and easy for them to consume. Avoid giving them citrus fruits, as they may not be as appealing to starlings.

6. Are there any foods I should avoid feeding starlings?

Avoid feeding starlings foods that are high in salt, sugar, or artificial preservatives. These can be harmful to their health. Additionally, avoid offering them avocado, chocolate, or caffeine, as these foods are toxic to many 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.