Starlings are among the most widespread birds, and with populations on every continent except Antarctica, they are also one of the most familiar. So it’s not unusual to see them in your yard or neighborhood, but you may have wondered if they migrate or stay put year-round. So let’s look at their migratory habits to figure out how to attract starlings during migration and starlings all year long!
The starling is an interesting bird species, migrating to warmer climates during winter and other seasons. While they are most famous for migrating, several misconceptions about this process may make it difficult to understand what starlings do when they migrate and why.
Where Do Starlings Migrate From?
Many people believe that starlings do not migrate and stay in one location all year. The fact is, though, that many of them do migrate seasonally. For example, starlings migrate from very harsh areas where the winters and the summers are too warm to survive.
They fly south as soon as it gets colder, usually following herds of food if necessary until they find a warmer climate where they can stop and spend winter. These places typically include Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, South America, and parts of Africa. Then, when spring comes around again, and there’s more available food in their original homes, they’ll start migrating back north again.
When And Why Do Starlings Migrate?
Migration can be defined as the movement of people or animals from one location to another, often occurring in search of food or warmer weather. Migration often happens in large groups or flocks of animals, such as birds. For example, starlings are small black birds that travel in large flocks and migrate south for the winter, often traveling thousands of miles to warmer climates with more food available year-round.
The reasons why starlings migrate varies on a case-by-case basis. Migrating is stressful for the birds and has also been linked to starvation and disease. The vast majority of migrant starlings return every year, and some can migrate up to 2000 miles. A few different factors can cause them to fly away from their original habitats, such as competition with other bird species or changes in vegetation.
Migrating isn’t always easy. It’s often difficult for a single individual to cross large distances without being detected by predators like hawks and falcons. However, migrating in groups allows the starlings to watch out for one another. This defense strategy prevents many from getting captured by these predators.
How Do You Know If A Bird Is Migrating?
Starlings typically fly when temperatures drop, or food is scarce. Starlings that remain in the same area for more than two weeks are probably not migrating but rather establishing a breeding ground.
It is best to know what type of bird you’re looking at and its general location to tell if a bird is migrating. For example, seagulls generally migrate during colder months because they need water to breed.
Geese migrate northwards during winter as they follow their food source into Canada and Alaska. Some populations also head south in autumn. However, it’s important to note that many birds don’t migrate. These include crows, ravens, jays, vultures, bluebirds, and cardinals.
A murmuration of starlings, flying in the Winter sky.
What Are The Best Places To See Starling Migration In Spring And Autumn?
In the spring, the best places to see starling migrations are Spain and Turkey. The best places to see starling migration in autumn are southern Europe, Lebanon, and Morocco. It is important to note that some populations will migrate in both directions throughout the year. Finally, when spotting a lone starling in your area, this could be an escaped pet or a released wild bird; if you have any doubts about its origin, get in touch with your local wildlife office immediately.
Tips For Viewing The Starling Migration
Here are six tips for viewing Starling migration:
- The best time to view the migration is in September.
- Starlings will fly during daylight hours but are most prevalent during dusk and dawn.
- Dense flocks of Starlings will usually perch together for several hours at a time. This behavior provides an excellent opportunity for viewing the migration from afar without having to get close enough to disturb them.
- If you’re lucky, they may even stay put while they roost.
- If you can find your way to roosting sites near or on farmland, you may be able to find large numbers of Starlings roosting in trees or bushes near farmland that have been cut back from harvesting.
- Be sure not to use artificial light when photographing the migration, as it might scare away some birds.
Three European starlings trying to stay warm while perched on a fence.
No one knows for sure if starlings migrate. But, it is generally believed that the birds fly south for the winter and head back north when the weather warms up. So, keep your eye out; you might see them in a new location in the coming weeks! Good luck and happy birding!