Cultural bird

Starling © Eero Haapanen

The starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a real cultural bird. Starlings forage for food in areas where the grass is short enough that they can get about by walking instead of hopping, such as cow pastures and urban lawns. In the archipelago, they also forage in rocky meadows and coastal meadows.

Starlings nest in nest boxes hung in yard areas and often in small holes in buildings. On the Pihlajasaari islands, starlings nest in tree holes in aspen. They arrive in their nesting sites as early as March–April.

The male starling’s song is notably skilful. It almost sounds like a mix of several simultaneous mechanical sounds and scratches reminiscent of an old, jumpy vinyl record player. Their nesting is almost finished by the end of the spring school term, with the chicks learning to fly by early June. After the nesting season, starling broods gather together to form large flocks. Starlings are very social birds throughout the year, nearly always traveling in small or very large flocks.