Are there any foods starlings won't eat?

Are there any foods starlings won't eat?

Starlings look black at a distance but close up they have glossy green and purple plumage and in groups, they can be very noisy - often scaring away the smaller birds.

Juveniles, on the other hand, are dull brown often with a pale throat.

The starling population has been in long-term decline throughout the UK and Europe, which resulted in nearly an 80 per cent population decline; however, the recent Garden Birdwatch and the Breeding Bird Survey results suggest a slight improvement in numbers.

Starlings usually use gardens all year round, but in the winter the population is boosted by migrant birds from mainland Europe.

During the breeding season, starlings eat invertebrates and the larvae of crane fly from short grassland vergers, including gardens.

In autumn and summer, they take more berries and bird seeds, and they will readily use garden bird feeders throughout the year.

Unfortunately, starlings have quite a bad reputation because they clean out feeding stations seemingly in minutes. And to say their numbers have been in freefall, they make up for it with noise and the fact that they seem to never dine alone. Starlings do this as they have evolved to feed quickly in flocks, rather than because they are greedy.

They're not to blame for this, but it can get expensive if you're on a bird feeding budget. If you're suffering from an invasion of starlings, you could remind yourself that they do need a helping hand or, you could have a go at providing food in feeders with cages around them that will exclude bigger birds as the holes are small enough to keep starlings away, but big enough to let most smaller birds through to feed. It's better to cut down their food intake than remove it in its entirety.

Starlings love anything with suet so try and hang a Suet Feeder or two under a domed squirrel baffle, which will only allow birds access to food from beneath the feeder. Starlings are reluctant to go under any sort of cover. Because of their slender and soft beak, they find it hard to eat any food that has a thicker outer shell. The food that is far less palatable to starlings is Niger Seed, Safflower and and any food with a husk/shell on it - but if a starling's hungry, it may consider devouring anything it can find on a bird table.

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Written by Chris Smith

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