Well, who better than a Starling, can mimic all sorts of sounds? Some witnesses claimed that from the passing flocks of birds heard even meowing cats. And this is only a small part of the parody of the gift of the grackle.
Is more detail to get acquainted with the bird, the Starling, to find out what to eat starlings, and these birds are migratory or not.
Looks like a Starling?
These birds are very often compared to the black thrush. The similarity is in size, dark plumage and in coloration of the beak. However, Starling from a Blackbird can be easily distinguished by its short tail, the body in the small and bright spots and the ability to run on the ground. In the spring, bright specks more visible in females, but the onset of autumn these spots are erased because of the shedding.
The common starlings beak is medium in length and very sharp, slightly curved downwards. During mating season the beak becomes yellow, the rest black. While the Chicks of starlings has not reached puberty, their beak is brownish-black. Juveniles under the age of puberty, also produces a brown tint tail, rounded wings and a bright throat.
The size of the common Starling, as a rule, is 22 cm and a weight of 75 gr. The wingspan of the common Starling is 39 cm . Housing individuals of a massive, relies on a red-brown legs. The head is proportionate, rounded shape. The tail of common starlings is very short, its length is 6 – 7 cm .
There are several geographical subspecies of starlings, which differ in shades of metallic feathers. For example, the feathers of European starlings cast green and purple hue, other subspecies of back, chest and the back of the neck mold blue and bronze tint.
These birds live almost everywhere except in Central and South America. Thanks to the actions of a person, starlings settled in New Zealand, Australia, southwest Africa and North America.
In the US birds, too, tried rooting several times. Most of the results brought to the attempt which was made in 1891. Then birds released in Central Park in new York. A large part of the starlings then killed. Despite this, the remaining individuals began to gradually “capture” the continent, ranging from southern Canada and to Florida.
In Eurasia, the starlings had occupied the vast area from Iceland to:
- Northern Spain;
- The South Of France;
- Northern Greece;
- North-West India;
- Northern Iran;
- Northern Iraq;
Some part of birds do not leave their inhabited areas. These include birds living in the southern and Western part of Europe. Others that live in Eastern and Northern Europe, always fly South for the winter.
Common starlings are not particularly demanding to their habitat, but never settle in the mountains. Most prefer the plains with salt marshes, swamps, steppe or cultivated landscapes. Starlings prefer to settle closer to the fields and close to the people that provide the birds food supply.
How are the starlings?
The most difficult is the life of migratory starlings, returned in April with the onset of warming. It happens that this month the snow falls, which drives the birds South. Individuals who do not have time to migrate, just die.
The first return home males. Females arrive a little later, when their representatives already chosen the places for nesting. Birds are willing to settle in nest boxes and hollows. Here they begin to hone their vocal and do not forget to fight with the neighbors.
Males pull the head up, widely open beak, and flutter their wings. Not always from their throats you can hear harmonious sounds: birds chirping often unpleasant and squealed.
It happens that starlings mimic the voice of some subtropical birds, but most often they imitate the following birds:
- The Orioles;
- The jays;
- The blackbirds;
- The squirrels;
- The cocks and hens;
- Ducks and many others.
As mentioned earlier, starlings can imitate not only birds but also other animals and even objects. They can imitate a dog barking, cat’s mewing, croaking frogs, the creaking of carts and the sound of printing machines.
Common starlings – are not particularly friendly birds. They quickly engage in a fight with other birds, if at stake is a good site for nesting. For example, once in the US starlings expelled from their homes red heads of woodpeckers. In Europe these birds are always fighting with green woodpeckers and storonami.
Starlings are very sociable individuals, so always grouped in flocks and settle nearby colonies. Fly also the groups of several thousand birds that hover synchronously, turn and come in for a landing.
Sleeping birds are also groups, usually on the branches of trees. Wintering flock of sleeping birds may reach several million individuals.
Migration of starlings
The North or East of live starlings, the greater the likelihood that the birds will have to immigrate. For example, almost all the inhabitants of England and Ireland fly South. From Belgium he came half starlings. 1/5 of the birds that live in the Netherlands spend winter here, others go to spend the winter in 500 km to the South – most often in Belgium and Northern France.
The first batch of starlings, usually dispatched South in the early fall, after the completion of the autumn moult. The peak of migration is in mid-autumn and ends in November. Fastest immigrate lonely individuals. They will start in early July.
As for the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia, there is only 8% of birds migrate South for the winter. In Switzerland the figure is even smaller and is only 2%.
Starlings that live in Eastern Poland, in the North of Scandinavia, Northern Russia and Ukraine, are migratory. They hibernate, usually in the South of Europe, in India or in the North-Western part of Africa. When flying these birds overcome the distance of 1-2 thousand kilometers.
Back part of the birds returned very early – in February or March when the ground is still covered with snow. At the end of April – early may, fly home those who live in the Northern regions.
The average lifespan of these birds documented. This data is provided by ornithologists Anatoly Shapoval and Vladimir Payevsky who have studied starlings in the Kaliningrad region on one of the biological stations. According to these data, the average life expectancy of common starlings is 12 years.
What to eat starlings?
Such life expectancy due to omnivorous birds.
Birds are eaten as a vegetable (like Starling) and rich protein food, which consists of:
- Insect larvae;
A flock of starlings is able to devastate entire crop fields and vineyards. They cause considerable damage to the cottagers, eating berries in the gardens, and the fruits or seeds with fruit trees.
Starlings that spend the winter at home, coupling with the onset of springand migratory – immediately after arrival. The duration of the breeding season depends on weather conditions and availability of food.
Nest couples do in nest boxes or tree hollows, as well as in the Foundation of housing larger birds. When Starling chose a place, he attracts the female with his singing.
Socket equip both male and female, looking for stems, roots, twigs, leaves, animal fur and bird feathers. Starlings – polygamous individuals, they can charm a few females. In masonry, usually 4-7 eggs. The incubation period lasts almost 2 weeks. At this time the male can sometimes change the female, which sits on the ever-present eggs.
To know that the Chicks came to light, it is possible for the shell under the nest. Parents of nestlings almost no rest. Morning and evening they are looking for food for their offspring. In order to find food for the Chicks, the parents got a few dozen times a day.
First, the diet consists of only soft food. Later in the course are grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles or snails. After 3 weeks the Chicks may already own to fly out of the nest.
A relationship with a man
Between Starling and man formed a very ambiguous relationship for several reasons:
- Starlings displace native birds;
- Large flocks of birds hinder the work and safety at airports;
- Birds cause considerable damage to agricultural activities;
- Birds are carriers of dangerous diseases.
In parallel, it can be noted that these birds actively destroying pests:
It’s no wonder people learned to make birdhouses. So it attracts the birds in their gardens and plots.