where is the european starling found in the u.s

The European Starling is a familiar sight in the USA, even though it’s from Europe and Asia. It was introduced in the 19th century and has prospered in many habitats – urban, rural, and agricultural. Its colonization of North America highlights its adaptability.

These birds are easy to spot, due to their unique look – glossy black feathers, iridescent green and purple hues, a yellow beak, and dark eyes. They are social and form large flocks, often in the thousands or millions during the non-breeding season.

You can find them across most of the USA. They are particularly abundant along the East Coast and Midwest, as they have adjusted to the many different environments there.

In West Virginia, a small town discovered something special near their local elementary school. Every evening, a swirling vortex of black feathers filled the sky. People came from far and wide to witness this incredible sight. Local newspapers shared stories about it, prompting more visitors. This episode reminds us that nature can still astound us, even in our daily lives.

Background information on the European Starling

The European Starling, or Sturnus vulgaris, is a common bird in the U.S. It’s known for its unique look and adaptability.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was intentionally introduced to North America. The American Acclimatization Society released around one hundred of them in Central Park, New York City in 1890.

Ever since, it has spread across the continent from Alaska to Florida, and even to California. It can survive in urban, agricultural, and natural habitats. Its success is due to its omnivorous diet and ability to nest in different places – from tree cavities to buildings.

These birds are also famous for their mimicry. They can imitate sounds they hear – from other birds to car alarms and cell phones.

Interestingly, the European Starling was released to control insect pests that were harming crops. Unintentionally, this impacted native bird populations negatively.

Native range of the European Starling

The European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is originally from Europe. But humans have introduced it to the USA, on purpose and by accident. It’s an invasive species and is now found in nearly all states.

Its native range is varied. Western Europe includes the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. Northern Europe covers Norway, Sweden and Finland. Central Europe has Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. And Eastern Europe is home to Russia and Ukraine.

These birds have adapted to lots of environments; from cities to rural spots. This has caused worries about them impacting native bird species.

When you see a group of these birds, take a closer look at their black plumage with purple and green sheen. Or listen to their impressive vocal abilities and flocking behavior.

Don’t miss out on seeing and learning about the European Starlings in our environment.

Sturnus vulgaris, otherwise known as the European Starling, was brought to the USA in the 19th century. People wanted to introduce all bird species from Shakespeare’s works. But, it backfired – they multiplied and spread rapidly!

These birds have adapted well. They’re now one of the most popular in North America. They live in many places – urban, agricultural, forestry, and grasslands.

Their success is due to being able to compete for nesting with native birds such as bluebirds and woodpeckers. European Starlings often take over these cavities, leaving native birds with no nesting sites. This isn’t good for native birds.

European Starlings are well-known for their impressive murmurations. This is when large flocks do aerial displays. It’s amazing to see and also keeps them safe from predators.

If you don’t want them nesting near you, use deterrents like owl decoys or reflective items.

Current distribution of the European Starling in the U.S.

The European Starling, also referred to as the Common Starling, has made its home in various parts of the US. This non-native species was released into North America in the late 19th century and since then has widely spread.

To get a better understanding of their current position, check out the figures below:

State Number of European Starlings
California 1 million+
Texas 500,000+
Florida 400,000+
New York 300,000+
Illinois 200,000+
Georgia 150,000+

It is important to note that these numbers are approximations based on existing info and may change due to factors such as migration and habitat availability. However, they do give us an idea of where this invasive species has become rooted.

An interesting detail is that the Starling population is more concentrated in cities and suburban areas than in rural places. This is mainly because they like to nest in buildings and human-made structures.

Pro Tip: If you spot European Starlings in your area, it is wise to prevent them from settling down. These birds can cause harm and carry diseases, so it’s best to discourage them by taking away their nesting places and using non-harmful methods of deterrence.

Impact of European Starlings on native bird species and ecosystems

European Starlings, an exotic species in the US, have a major influence on native bird types and surroundings. They vie for resources and commonly outcompete local birds, causing population decreases. Plus, they modify environments by moving other cavity-nesting species and upsetting natural food webs. Their massive flocks create noise and help spread diseases among bird populations.

These non-native birds particularly affect woodpeckers, bluebirds, and other cavity-nesting birds due to their fighting nature and ability to seize nesting sites. They are very defensive of their territories, blocking native birds from accessing suitable nesting spots, resulting in less successful breeding for these species.

Moreover, the feeding behavior of European Starlings yields unfavorable effects on local ecosystems. Their varied menu includes fruits, bugs, grains, and even trash. This versatility permits them to exploit different food sources that would otherwise be eaten by native bird species. Thus, the displacement of these resources causes raised competition among wildlife.

A remarkable detail is their murmurations. Thousands of individuals gather in unison during migrations or roosting periods. The stunning patterns formed by these flocks are both stunning and a tribute to nature’s delicate beauty.

An intriguing fact is that Eugene Schieffelin brought European Starlings to North America in the late 19th century, as part of his project to introduce all bird species mentioned in Shakespearean works. This was documented in The Auk: Ornithological Advances journal.

Management and control efforts for European Starlings

To counter the impact of European Starlings, it is possible to:

  1. Install bird netting or wire mesh barriers to restrict access to potential nesting sites.
  2. Use noise devices, visual repellents, or roost modification techniques as deterrents.
  3. Trap and remove starlings from specific areas with targeted trapping programs.
  4. Incorporate exclusion techniques in building designs, such as sealing openings or using vent covers.

Researchers are researching new methods that are humane and eco-friendly. The goal is to deter starlings while protecting other native bird species.

You can help too:

  • Don’t feed starlings with responsible bird feeding practices.
  • Properly dispose of food waste to stop unintentional feeding.
  • Use birdhouses with small entrance holes that won’t let starlings in but can still accommodate other birds.
  • Take part in citizen science initiatives to monitor and assess population trends.

By doing these things, we can reduce the harm caused by European Starlings and conserve biodiversity. We need collaboration between researchers, local communities and government agencies for successful long-term management strategies.


The European starling is a common bird in the US. You can find them in cities, countryside, and suburbs. Their feathers are black and their beak is yellow.

You may see them foraging for food in parks, fields, or even your backyard. They flock together in large numbers, creating an awe-inspiring sight when they fly up.

This species is one of a kind – they can mimic sounds! They copy other bird songs, plus human noises like car alarms and ringing phones. This makes them even more interesting.

Do take the chance to observe this beautiful bird. Join a birdwatching group or just go outdoors in places they like to visit. It’s a great way to get close to nature and appreciate one of America’s most amazing feathered residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the European starling found in the U.S.?

The European starling, a non-native bird species, is found throughout the United States. They were introduced in the 19th century and have successfully established populations in all 50 states.

2. Are European starlings native to the U.S.?

No, European starlings are not native to the U.S. They were brought to North America in the late 1800s by a group known as the American Acclimatization Society. The society released roughly 100 European starlings in Central Park, New York City, and the species has since spread across the country.

3. What habitats do European starlings prefer?

European starlings are adaptable birds and can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, farmlands, open fields, parks, and suburban neighborhoods. They are cavity nesters and often take over tree cavities or use man-made structures for nesting.

4. Do European starlings pose any threats?

While European starlings are not considered native wildlife, they have adapted well to their new environment. Their aggressive behavior and tendency to outcompete native bird species for resources pose a threat to local ecosystems and can impact native bird populations. Additionally, their large flocks can cause damage to agricultural crops.

5. What do European starlings eat?

European starlings are omnivorous and have a diverse diet. They feed on a wide range of food, including insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and human-provided food like bread and garbage. Their opportunistic feeding habits contribute to their success as a species.

6. How can we manage European starling populations?

Managing European starling populations can be challenging due to their adaptability and large numbers. Some strategies include discouraging nesting by sealing potential nest sites, using bird feeders designed to keep starlings out, and reducing easy access to human-provided food sources. It’s important to consult with local wildlife agencies or experts for effective and ethical management techniques.

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.