FPL | European Starling

European Starling

Origin: Europe

Impacts: In 1890, European immigrants released 100 starlings in New York City. A century later, their population has increased to approximately 200 million and they are now found all over the United States and Canada.

The starling is one of the most widespread and abundant birds in North America.

Starlings cause ecological disruption by aggressively driving native birds, such as woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and Purple Martins, from their nests, often destroying eggs and killing nestlings.

For part of the year, starlings travel in large flocks that inhabit trees, buildings, and power substations. The massive amounts of fecal matter produced by the birds have negative health effects and the capacity to short electric lines.

The large flocks are aviation hazards that have caused at least one plane crash, as well as the cause of approximately $800 million per year in crop damage in the U.S.


Sturnus vulgaris

Photo courtesy of Pierce National Wildlife Refuge