When and Where to Find the Common Starling in America

When and Where to Find the Common Starling in America?

When and Where to Find the Common Starling in America?

The Common Starling, also known as the European Starling, is one of America’s most widespread and adaptable bird species. The Common Starling can be found year-round in much of the eastern United States and along the West Coast. One of the best times to spot these birds is during the winter months when they migrate and gather in large flocks.

According to the New York Times, it was first introduced to North America in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, a prominent New York City businessman who wanted to introduce all the birds mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to America. The Common Starling quickly adapted to its new environment and spread across the continent.

You might have a question about when and where to find the common Starling in America. They are often found in open fields, orchards, and urban areas where they roost on buildings, bridges, and even trees. 

The presence of Common Starlings in North America has brought both benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, their beauty and existence are widely admired. On the other hand, they have been responsible for damaging crops and engaging in resource competition with native bird species. This article will delve into the origins of the Common Starling, the time and location of their introduction to America, their influence on the native ecosystem, and strategies for managing their population. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Common Starling, a bird species with a broad distribution, can be found in various regions
  • It was initially brought to North America in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, an avid bird lover.
  • Although admired for its beauty and existence, this species has been notorious for damaging crops and competing with native birds for resources.

Origins of Common Starling

The origins of the Common Starling, also known as the European Starling, can be traced back to Europe and Western Asia. Interestingly, these birds were not always a part of the American avian landscape.

These birds were introduced into North America in the late 19th century as part of an ill-conceived plan by a group called the American Acclimatization Society. Their goal was to introduce every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s works to North America. As a result, a mere 60 starlings were released in New York City’s Central Park in 1890.

The Common Starling population exploded rapidly across North America to over 200 million individuals today. Today, the common starling can be found scattered throughout North America, particularly in urban and suburban areas where they have adapted remarkably well. 

In their homeland, Common Starlings are known to compete fiercely with other birds for food and nesting sites. Their versatile diet consists of insects, fruits, berries, and even the eggs and nestlings of smaller birds. They are particularly common in urban areas where they have adapted well to man-made structures such as buildings and bridges.

Overall,  Starlings is surely an experience that will leave you captivated by nature’s interconnectedness and man-made interventions alike.

General Description and Scientific Classification

The Common Starling, scientifically known as Sturnus vulgaris, is a small to medium-sized bird found across America. These highly adaptable birds have a striking appearance with their dark iridescent plumage and yellow beak. One of the fascinating aspects of Common Starlings is their ability to mimic a wide range of sounds, including human speech and the calls of other bird species.

The Common Starling is a medium-sized bird with an average length of around 7-9 inches and a wingspan of approximately 12-15 inches. Males and females share similar physical characteristics, however, during breeding season, males tend to have slightly larger body sizes compared to females.

The natural habitat of common starlings spans Europe, Asia, and North Africa. However, these birds were introduced to North America during the late 19th century. They exhibit a preference for open landscapes such as fields, meadows, and pastures but are also adaptable to urban settings. 

The scientific classification assigned to common starlings remains unaltered.

SpeciesSturnus Vulgaris

In North America, common starlings are referred to as European starlings, while in Great Britain and Ireland, they are simply known as the starlings. This information can help you locate common starlings in America.

When Were They Introduced in America

The common starling, scientific name Sturnus vulgaris, was introduced to North America in the late 19th century. Specifically, it was Eugene Schieffelin who played a significant role in bringing these birds to American soil. As a member of the American Acclimatization Society, Schieffelin believed it would be beneficial to introduce all the bird species mentioned by Shakespeare into North America.

In pursuit of this goal, he imported 60 European starlings from England and released them into Central Park, New York City on March 6, 1890. Since then, the common starling has spread throughout most states in America and can be found across a wide range of habitats from urban areas to agricultural fields.

The specific year of their introduction is uncertain, with some sources pointing towards 1890 while others suggest it might have been earlier. Regardless of the exact date, however, by the 1920s, the common starling had expanded its territory all the way to the West Coast, firmly establishing itself as one of the most abundant bird species in the United States. From Alaska to Mexico, the common starling is found throughout most of North America today.

The common starling’s arrival in North America has been met with mixed opinions. While some people view the bird as an invasive species that competes with native birds for resources, others appreciate its adaptability and unique characteristics.

Despite their reputation as pests by some, it is worth noting that common starlings are actually important contributors to local ecosystems.

Where Are They Found in America

The Common Starling, known for its striking iridescent feathers and remarkable mimicry skills, can be found across various regions in America throughout the year. While they are not native to the continent, these European birds were intentionally introduced in the late 19th century by enthusiasts of William Shakespeare’s works.

Common Starlings are most abundant in the eastern United States, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest regions. However, they have also made their presence known in the Pacific Northwest, California, and even parts of Texas.

Common Starlings are not only widespread, but they also have a distinct preference for specific habitats. These charming birds can commonly be found in open areas with short vegetation, such as grasslands and agricultural fields. They prefer areas with low-lying vegetation or scattered trees and shrubs where they can construct their nests.

These birds have managed to thrive in human-constructed environments. One of the most intriguing aspects is their tendency to gather in massive flocks, both during their daily activities and when roosting at night. These birds are notorious for their vocal nature, creating a symphony of chirps, whistles, and squawks that can be heard from miles away.

In conclusion, the adaptable nature of common starlings enables them to flourish across America’s vast landscapes with relative ease.

Impact on Native Ecosystem

The common starling, an invasive species originally brought to North America in the late 19th century, today can be found throughout much of North America, from southern Canada all the way down to Mexico, and has had a profound impact on the native ecosystem.

Competition for Nest Sites

The competition for nest sites among Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) is a fascinating phenomenon that plays out across America. These adaptable birds are known to select a variety of locations for breeding, from natural cavities in trees and cliffs to man-made structures such as buildings, boxes, and birdhouses. However, common starlings preferred habitats are grasslands, woodland edges, agricultural fields, and urban areas are included.

Agricultural Damage

Agricultural damage caused by Common Starlings is a widespread problem in America.

These opportunistic omnivores have a voracious appetite for fruits, seeds, and insects – all crucial components of a healthy crop ecosystem. Their large flocks can cause substantial destruction to crops, with estimates suggesting that billions of dollars worth of damage occurs each year.

Disease Transmission

Common Starling’s presence comes with a caveat – they can act as vectors for various diseases that can be detrimental to both human health and agricultural systems. These birds are known carriers of multiple pathogens, including avian influenza and Salmonella. Their large population potentially puts both human and animal health at risk.

Overall Impact

The arrival of the common starling in North America has had a profound impact on various aspects of the ecosystem. Native bird populations have suffered due to their competition for nest sites, while the agricultural industry has experienced significant damage. Furthermore, public health has been jeopardized as these birds are known carriers of diseases.

Controlling the Population of Common Starling

Their fast-growing population has raised questions about their impact on native bird populations and agricultural practices. This is especially worrisome for cavity-nesting birds like bluebirds or chickadees that often struggle to secure suitable nesting spots due to increasing starling numbers.

In conclusion, managing the population of Common Starlings is crucial for preserving biodiversity and agricultural practices.

Additionally, We have a blog post about Starling murmuring. Enjoy reading it!

Lethal Control

Lethal control tactics, such as trapping, shooting, or poisoning, have long been employed to manage the population of invasive common starlings. This approach is not without controversy and can pose challenges in its implementation. However, their use raises concerns about collateral damage inflicted upon non-targeted species and potential contamination of the ecosystem as a whole.

Non-Lethal Control

Non-lethal control methods are becoming an increasingly popular approach in managing pest species such as the common starling. For instance, using sound devices that mimic predator calls has proven successful in discouraging these birds from roosting in certain areas. Additionally, Carefully placed nets or wire mesh can be installed over gardens, roofs, or crops to deter starlings from roosting or nesting in those spaces.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a comprehensive approach to control common starling.IPM program focused on managing starlings, different strategies may be utilized depending on the situation at hand. For example, exclusion techniques such as netting or repellents may be used to prevent starlings from accessing specific areas where they are causing problems.

Another important aspect of  IPM for starling control is the use of deterrents that target their specific behaviors. Starlings are attracted to certain stimuli like light or loud noises, so using devices that emit startling sounds or flashing lights can successfully deter them from roosting in unwanted areas.

In conclusion, Integrated Pest Management offers a systematic approach to controlling pests like the common starling sustainably.


In conclusion, the common starling can be found throughout much of North America, particularly in urban and suburban areas. Their adaptability to a variety of habitats and food sources has allowed them to flourish in these environments.

 However, their population numbers have been declining in recent years due to various factors such as loss of nesting sites and competition with other bird species. Whether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, keep an eye out for these charismatic birds in parks, fields, and cityscapes.

If you are interested in observing common starlings, keep an eye out for their distinct appearance and listen for their unique vocalizations. Additionally, during the breeding season, look for their nests in tree cavities or man-made structures such as buildings and bridges.

Additionally, consider providing suitable nesting sites and food sources in your own backyard to help support their population growth. Together, we can help ensure the continued presence of this fascinating bird species in our communities.

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