European Starlings can be found in the Decorah area year-round, although some wintering starlings could be short-distance migrants from colder northern areas. They are ground feeders that eat everything, although they prefer insects and other invertebrates. Common prey includes grasshoppers, beetles, flies, caterpillars, snails, earthworms, millipedes, and spiders. They also eat fruits including wild and cultivated cherries, holly berries, hackberries, mulberries, tupelo, Virginia creeper, sumac, and blackberries, as well as grains, seeds, nectar, livestock feed, and garbage.
Male starlings establish a territory and begin singing to attract a mate. Starling nests are started by males, who choose a cavity and fill it with twigs, weeds, grass, leaves, trash, feathers, and string. Females often assist in or complete the later stages of nest construction, which includes making a nest cup within the larger structure. The cup is lined with feathers, fine bark shreds, and grass. European Starlings lay four to six eggs per clutch and produce up to two broods per year. Both parents incubate eggs for about 12 days and young stay in the nest for roughly 21 days. To learn more, visit Cornell’s website.