Yes, European Starlings are overpopulated, outcompete native species for nesting sites, take over birdfeeding stations, destroy crops and really don’t belong in the United States in the first place, but … they sure can be a handsome bird in the breeding season, especially if the light hits them just right.
Starlings look markedly different from one season to the next. Their breeding plumage, seen above, features an array of dots, lines and colors, such as green, purple, blue and, of course, black.
I don’t often have good things to say about European Starlings, but this visitor to my feeder this morning at least temporarily softened my stance.
The story about how starlings ended up in the United States in the first place is very interesting. Here it is, from Wild Birds Unlimited:
“The European Starling was introduced into North America when the “American Acclimatization Society” for European settlers released some 80-100 birds in Central Park (New York City) in 1890-91. The head of this particular organization, Eugene Scheiffelin, desired to introduce all birds ever mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare.”