Feeding Nature
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What Do Starlings Eat?

What Do Starlings Eat?

Starlings are beautiful birds with their gorgeous metallic colored wings.  Different species of starlings can differ in color but most of the species do have dark metallic colors.  Some are spotted and others boast with bright orange chests.  This medium-sized bird belongs to the Sturnidae family and they are found in most continents.

The most unique aspect of starlings is their advanced vocalization.  They can mimic sounds from their surroundings and can use these sounds in their own calls.  Sounds like car alarms, human speech patterns and various other sounds can easily become part of their vocabulary.

Starlings are also very intelligent.  You can easily lure them to your garden by offering them the right foods.

What Do Starlings Eat?

If you want these birds to live in your garden so you can listen to their strange sounds or marvel at their unique colors every day then you should start by installing a bird feeder that has enough space for a variety of dry and soft foods.  Starlings are omnivores and need to eat a variety of food types to stay healthy and nourished.  Here is a quick look at some of the best foods to offer these birds in your backyard.

Insects

Insects are the main food source for starlings.  They especially depend on insects when their chicks are still young because these chicks require lots of protein to ensure healthy and rapid growth.  Starlings will catch and eat just about any type of insect they find.  They are fond of eating spiders, worms, caterpillars, flies, butterflies, grasshoppers, worms, earthworms, crickets and many other insect types.

These clever birds learn from human behavior and will wait for you to mow the lawn so they can catch insects that dive up from the turf.

Fruits

Starlings also depend on fruits.  They are often labelled as pests because of their fondness of fruits.  They will eat just about any fruits they can find and are fond of berries, seeds, apples, pears, plums, and cherries.  In the wild, these birds are important for ensuring the reproduction of various plant types.  They feed on wild berries and then carry the seeds to different areas so plants can continue to spread and grow.

Vegetables

Starlings love to eat a variety of vegetable types.  They are quite fond of leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, broccoli, cucumber and various other types of veggies.  In vegetable crops, they can cause a lot of damage when they pick out small shoots or soft leaves from these plants.

Plant matter

Starlings also eat a variety of natural plants.  They are especially fond of eating soft sprouts and buds from trees and bushes.  When starlings nip off the flower buds from trees, they can cause a lot of damage in fruit plantations when they bite off all the fresh flower buds before these plants can pollinate to produce food.

Nectar

Starlings also eat nectar.  They are fond of eating flower buds but will also feed on nectar in blooming flowers.  These birds have long thin beaks that enable them to reach the sweet nectar in flowers with great ease.

Grains and seeds

These birds sometimes make their nests close to open farmlands because they also feed on a variety of grains and seeds.  Seeds like sunflower seeds, de-shelled peanuts, cracked corn, oats, barley, wheat and various other types of grains or seeds.

Surprisingly, starlings are not fond of certain types of seeds.  They typically avoid peanuts in the shell, nyjer, thistle and safflower seeds.

Eggs

These naughty birds may target the nests of other birds because they love to feed on eggs.  They will eat any type of small bird egg they can find.

Small animals

While visiting bird nests in search of eggs, starlings may sometimes also target small animals such as baby birds.  Other small animals such as mice or baby rats might also become prey for the starling in harsh conditions.

Diet Variations

Starlings do eat a huge variety of food types.  They are also fond of various human foods such as rice, cookies, bread and cooked vegetables.  The biggest diet variation is that they sometimes eat small animals or baby birds when they are out and about searching for other food types.

How to Feed Starlings?

To feed starlings in your backyard, you can install a bird feeder that has enough room to place seeds and grains as well as space for other soft foods such as fruits and insects.  You can also install a bird bath since starlings love to take baths and they enjoy waiting near bird baths so they can catch thirsty insects.

What do Starlings Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, starlings will eat a huge variety of insects and plants they find in their natural environment.  Insects are their main food supply but these birds are also important seed dispensers for various plant types like sandalwood trees, parasitic mistletoe and many other fruit or berry bearing tree types.  These birds often choose crop farms as their natural habitat because they are fond of the insects, seeds and grains that are found in these agricultural sectors.

What do Starlings Eat in Captivity?

Starlings are sometimes kept as pets because of their unique ability to mimic sounds and even human voices.  If you keep a starling as a pet, you should offer it lots of insects such as crickets and mealworms.  Your starling should also have access to fresh water and lots of healthy fruits.  You can also offer it seeds and grains as supplementary food as well as fresh greens and other soft vegetables.

What do Baby Starlings Eat?

Baby starlings are called chicks.  When the chicks are still young, the parent starlings will regurgitate food back to them.  Once the chicks grow a little bit bigger, they are fed on small pieces of insect, fruit pieces or small seeds.

As the chicks grow, they will start to eat larger pieces of food until they are finally able to fly so they can catch their own insects.  These birds are usually self-feeding by the time they are 4 weeks old.

How Often Do Starlings Eat?

Starlings need to feed every day and they will eat frequently throughout the day. They are constantly on the lookout for foods that they can catch and eat.  Pet starlings can be offered fruits, vegetables and seeds all day long and they can be offered insects twice a day.

Do Starlings Eat Baby Birds?

Yes, starlings will make prey of young and baby birds but in most cases it is not the chicks they are after.  These birds are fond of eating eggs and usually visit other nests so they can steal eggs.  If there happens to be chicks in the nests then these birds may choose to eat the chicks instead.

Do Starlings Attack Humans?

These birds can sometimes show aggression towards humans if people get too close to their nests.  They may swoop down and bite or nibble at people who get too close to their nests and their bites can be quite painful.

Do Starlings Eat Fruit?

Yes, these birds love to eat fruits.  They are fond of berry fruits but will also eat other fruit types such as bananas, grapes, apples, pears and other types.

Do Starlings Eat Mealworms?

Starlings love to eat mealworms and various other types of worms.  These worms are healthy because they offer them lots of protein.  Many pet owners love to buy their starlings mealworms instead of having to catch insects in the backyard.

Do Starlings Eat Peanuts?

Starlings do eat peanuts but only when these nuts are already deshell.  They are not fond of breaking open the peanut shells.

Do Starlings Eat Safflower Seeds?

These birds do not like safflower seeds.  If you want to lure other types of birds to your garden but don’t want starlings to come to your garden then you can include lots of safflower seeds in your bird feeder.