Starlings are approximately 20 cm in length. They are typically shiny black birds with purple or green colouring throughout with white speckles that are very prominent in the winter.
Habits & Behaviours
Starlings can be found throughout Ontario. Some starlings may migrate in the winter, however, they are not true migratory birds and many will adapt to the winter temperatures. They nest and roost in and around residential, recreational/cottage, and commercial properties and they have a rather large breeding capacity. They build large nests that will often hold several families. These nests are constructed out of coarse, dried sticks and other vegetation, such as, feathers, string, and paper. Starlings are known as nuisance pest birds due to their territorial and often troublesome nesting habits.
Complaints & Destruction
Starlings can be a nuisance in both urban and rural areas due to their nesting, eating, and roosting habits. When the birds are in the flocking phase, thousands of starlings will aggressively overwhelm buildings and trees. Starlings will often construct their nests under roof eaves, in crevices and holes in walls and out-buildings, in/on machinery, and in/on commercial signs. They roost in large noisy flocks on branches of trees and bushes, under eaves of houses, attic vents, and commercial signs. Large scale build-up of feces from these flocks can lead to structural damage. Starlings damage crops and gardens by pecking seeds, seedlings, buds, flowers, vegetables, and maturing fruits. They consume and spoil livestock food and water and contaminate or deface buildings, facilities, and livestock with their nests and droppings. They can also transmit many diseases and parasites to livestock, pets, and humans.
Major Risks & Dangers
As starling nests consist of materials that are highly flammable, nests constructed near electrical boxes, wires, or inside machinery have a very high risk of fire.
Starlings carry allergens, parasites, bacteria, and other health risks to humans. Droppings on pavement can become slippery when wet posing a safety hazard to passing pedestrians and allowing dropping to be tracked into buildings. Starling droppings contain infectious diseases such as histoplasmosis, salmonella and meningitis. Dead and decomposing starlings can cause displaced parasites, contaminate the water supply, and other pest infestations.
Structure & surface damages
The starling’s destructive nesting habits and corrosive droppings can cause extensive surface damage and staining to homes and buildings.
Female and male starlings are monogamous birds that will mate for life, however, if a mate is lost, they are quickly replaced. Mating season is in the spring. Starlings will typically raise one to two broods per year and lay 4-7 eggs per brood. The male and female starlings take turns incubating the eggs for 11 to 13 days. The young are nourished by both parents during the first days of life and they are ready to fledge the nest at about 3 – 4 weeks of age.
Starlings are omnivores and their diet consists of seeds, grain, fruits, vegetables, worms, and insects.
To reduce the risk of starlings resting, scavenging or nesting around your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, bird proofing/exclusion is the best prevention.
Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many bird proofing/exclusion services and solutions.
Due to the dangers associated with bird feces you should never attempt to exclude a bird infestation yourself. If a colony of starlings is nesting on your residential, recreational/cottage or commercial property, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely and humanely removing the birds, decontaminating the areas affected, and providing you with exclusion/proofing services to prevent further infestations. Please contact us today or see our Bird Control Services section for further information on the types of services and solutions we can provide.
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