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.
Photo courtesy of Pierce National Wildlife Refuge