European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

I thought they were common blackbirds but I was wrong. What’s a European bird doing in the USA?

When I arrived at Mercer Meadows at the Bryan Farm trailhead I saw a large number of birds resting in the large tree next to the old farmhouse. At first, I thought they were crows and ignored them. After setting up my camera and lens, I pulled out the Merlin ID app to identify the birds in the area via sound.

The Merlin ID app will flash the name of the bird it heard, each time it hears it. These were not crows. Each time the birds in the tree on the branches above me made a noise, the name European Starling flashed. The species is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa but has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, where it has become a common and sometimes invasive species. I have seen them at the bird feeder in my backyard.

The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a medium-sized passerine bird known for its glossy black plumage with white speckles and yellow beak during breeding season. It has a strong, pointed bill and short legs adapted for ground foraging.

Starlings are highly social birds, often forming large flocks, and are known for their vocalizations and mimicry abilities. They have a varied diet, feeding on insects, fruits, seeds, and human-provided food. Starlings are cavity nesters, utilizing holes in trees, buildings, and other structures for nesting sites. They are opportunistic breeders, often nesting multiple times per year and producing multiple broods.

Author: Khürt Williams

I work in application security architecture and I live in Montgomery Township, New Jersey with my wife Bhavna. I am passionate about photography. Expect to find writing on cybersecurity, tropical aquariums, terrariums, hiking, craft breweries, and bird photography.

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