The common starling belongs to the family of starlings of the passerine order. This bird is widespread in Eurasia, its original homeland. But, the starlings were artificially settled by humans in Africa, Australia and North America, where they successfully took root. For example, at the end of the 19th century, only 60 pairs of starlings were released in New York. Just over a hundred years later, starlings are now one of the most common birds in the United States. they settled from southern Canada to Mexico.
15 interesting facts about starlings
- Starlings are songbirds. At the same time, they successfully imitate the voices of various birds: blackbirds, finches. It so happens that they borrow the "melodies" of birds during wintering in warm regions. It happens that starlings mimic dogs or frogs.
- Starlings have even begun to pose a certain danger to the local fauna, as they displace some species of birds from their usual habitats. In relation to other species of birds, starlings often show increased aggression.
- Starlings are highly trainable. After a person, a bird is able to repeat not only individual words, but also whole phrases. In this respect, starlings are able to compete even with parrots.
- Ornithologists of the 19th century noted that the songs of starlings living in Russia are very similar to the whistle of coachmen. It is not surprising, as thousands of coachmen drove along the roads of the country who drove the horses with a dashing, "running" whistle. Their example turned out to be infectious even for birds.
- Starlings arrive in Central Russia in early spring. They immediately begin to populate tree hollows and birdhouses, evicting sparrows from there, which have settled in them in winter.
- In Europe, from spring to autumn, starlings have time to breed three times. In a clutch there are usually 4 to 6 eggs that are blue in color. Chicks hatch in 11-13 days. It often happens that during the incubation of eggs, the male replaces the female for a while. After three weeks, the chicks leave the nest.
- Parents bring food to chicks up to 300 times in one day. A pair of starlings is capable of exterminating 8, 000 May beetles per season. And the total mass of insects that the family hunts reaches 6 kilograms. It is for this reason that gardeners are trying to attract these birds to their plots by arranging birdhouses for them. But it also happens that starlings can damage the fruit.
- Starling eggs and chicks themselves often fall prey to predators. Most often, their nests are ruined by birds of prey: eagles, golden eagles, owls, as well as magpies and crows. Cats and martens, which climb trees perfectly, can also reach the nests of birds. Under natural conditions, the average life span of starlings is about 12 years. In captivity, the lifespan can increase by several years.
- It is difficult to say when people first started making birdhouses. But, they can already be seen on the canvases of Flemish painters of the 15th century. And Vasily Levshin in his "Book for Hunters", which was published in 1774, wrote that in many places in Russia and Little Russia, the owners make special bundles of birch bark, in which starlings willingly settle.
- Starlings have been forest birds since ancient times. But, gradually they began to quite peacefully coexist with a person. Even large cities are not afraid of them. Moreover, there are not many enemies of starlings, which pose a danger to them in the wild.
- Starlings adapt well to life in captivity. A spacious cage is needed to keep them. In their diet, they are not picky, willingly eat insects and worms, as well as porridge, cottage cheese and bread.
- In flight, a starling can reach speeds of up to 70-75 kilometers per hour. A flock of starlings returning from wintering is a grandiose sight: it can number hundreds of thousands of birds. From a distance, such a flock resembles a swarm of bees. Gradually, this flock "scatters", starlings settle in dwellings.
- Many birds, including starlings, pose a serious hazard to aircraft. Once in the fuselage or engine, they can disrupt the operation of the units. For these purposes, the Domodedovo airport has created a special ornithological service, the task of which is to control birds both on the territory of the airport and at a distance of several kilometers from it. To scare away birds, birds of prey are used.
- All starlings fly away to winter in the center and north of Russia. But in European countries with a warmer climate, many of them lead a sedentary lifestyle. For example, in the British Isles, starlings do not leave their habitats all year round. And in the Netherlands, only a fifth of the starlings decide to stay in winter. The rest are moving to warmer places.
- The rock group "Time Machine" dedicated a song to one of the starlings who decided not to leave their cold homeland. It was written by the poet and musician Andrei Makarevich in 1981 and was named "The Foolish Starling". It was one of his most famous works of the eighties.