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Sarah — February 14, 08:39PM

Starlings in Winter?

Hello. I am located in upstate NY, about 10 miles west of Albany. First time ever (over 60 years of paying attention), I saw flocks of starlings in December and January. Does anyone know if they are over-wintering or came back early? If they're over-wintering, when was this first observed in this part of NY? In either case, what do they eat when there's 2 feet of snow on the ground, like today? Thanx.

bickleblue — February 14, 06:24PM

I live across the country from you (Washington state). I have never heard of starlings migrating. We are at 3200' elevation with very severe winter weather and they are always here year round. As do other birds that brave the winter their diet probably isn't quite the same in the winter. It seems that starlings will eat just about anything bugs to seeds. I have had two injured starlings for years and they both will eat almost anything I do plus dog food flies etc. Although one of them had the greatest fear of grubs and earthworms. I don't usually keep birds but the rehab places won't take starlings and these guys were rescued then donated to me by neighbors.

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Karl Curtis — February 14, 06:47PM

Sarah,I'm just south and east of Syracuse, N.Y. No shortage of starlings here in winter. They eat berries, feeder seeds, suet, and much more and they descend on farms around cattle barns and trench silos for any cattle feed (grains) they can pilfer. During some recent mild weather they were working the lawn by my house for insect larvae.

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Sarah — February 14, 08:52PM

Thank you both. My past experience has been that they leave with the robins and come back with either the robins or the blackbirds, so seeing them around in winter was a surprise. We have lots of non-migratory robins here for the past 15 or so years, but starlings are new for me. I didn't know they ate seeds, thought they were dedicated "meat-eaters." So again thank you. Happy Starling Valentines.

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Niranjan A — February 15, 07:04AM

I live in India and just for your information, starlings here drink a lot of nectar.

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