European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

starling image

 European starling

Species and Origin: The European starling is a cavity nesting bird native to Europe.  As early as 1872, people began purposefully introducing European starlings to the United States.

Impacts: Starlings compete with native species, especially cavity-nesting birds such as woodpeckers, martins, and bluebirds which can be evicted by starlings during the mating season. Starlings are also considered an agricultural pest in some areas, eating grains, sprouting seeds, and livestock feed.

Status: The starling is found throughout the US and is abundant in most of its range.

Where to look: It occupies a great variety of habitats including suburban, rural, and woodlands.  It tends to avoid dense forests away from human habitation.  Normally it selects and old woodpecker or natural cavity and usually nests earlier than many other cavity nesters.

Regulatory classification (agency):  It is an unregulated non-native species in Minnesota because they are already widely distributed throughout the state. 

Means of spread: Their ability to fly, adapt to a variety of habitats, produce two broods a season, and their diverse dietary preferences allow them to expand their range quickly.


How can you help?

  • Modify entrance holes to purple martin houses using D-shaped entrance plates.
  • Monitor wood duck boxes weekly.
  • Use small entrance holes in blue bird nest boxes (1 1/2 inch diameter).
  • Avoid using cracked corn, bread, or red millet to feed birds.
  • Use a starling-proof suet feeder.


Additional Resources