Birds - non-native

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) on Aug 25, 2009

Submitter does not have a specimen

Description of specimen

LArge flocks this year; none last year


Terrance, thank you for your report of European Starlings east of Philomath. European Starlings are well established throughout the United States. They were first introduced in Central Park (New York) in 1890. This extremely successful arrival to North America is a fierce competitor for nest cavities. Starlings often take over the nests of native birds, expelling the occupants. With so many starlings around, this causes some concern about their effect on native bird populations. Nevertheless, a study in 2003 found few actual effects on populations of 27 native species. Only sapsuckers showed declines due to starlings; other species appeared to be holding their own against the invaders (Cornell Lab of Ornithology,

If you have large flocks of starlings this year, but haven't had them in past years, nearby development or a change in the landscape could cause an increase in sightings compared to previous years. It could also be that some of your neighbors have begun feeding birds. Starlings are particularly attracted to millet. Oregon State University extension notes on their web page that black oil sunflower seeds encourage native birds.

Lisa DeBruyckere
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:35 a.m.