Question From: MICHIGAN
Q: In the article “feeding starlings” It is mention that starlings are very important for pest control, omitting the fact that these invaders from Europe have devastated the populations of native, desireable species that used to fill this niche perfectly. Starlings should be shot wherever legally possible, and harassed everywhere else, not fed and cared for in any way. Shame on this author’s ignorance.
A: Not everyone shares your harsh views on Starlings. Here's the Audubon Society's take this pesky bird. Conservation status Undoubtedly has had a negative impact on some native hole-nesting birds, such as bluebirds and Red-headed Woodpeckers, competing with them for nesting sites. Family Starlings and Mynas Habitat Cities, parks, farms, open groves, fields. Most numerous in farm country and in suburbs and cities, but inhabits almost any kind of disturbed habitat. Usually scarce or absent in extensive wild areas of forest, scrub, or desert, but will breed around buildings or settlements in the midst of such habitats. Often regarded as a pest, the Starling wins our grudging admiration for its adaptability, toughness, and seeming intelligence. Brought to North America in 1890, it has spread to occupy most of the continent, and is now abundant in many areas. Sociable at most seasons, Starlings may gather in immense flocks in fall and winter. When the flocks break up for the breeding season, males reveal a skill for mimicry, interrupting their wheezing and sputtering songs with perfect imitations of other birds. Best Nancy and Happy Yardening