Chicagoland Area & Suburbs

McHenry, Lake, Cook, Kane and DuPage Counties

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Starlings

European starlings are widespread across North America. They eat a wide variety of foods and are willing to use a wide variety of places to nest and roost. This flexible nature helps them thrive in cities and suburbs as well as on farms. They are one of only a few birds who live in otherwise barren industrial urban wastelands.

Most people don’t think of starlings as being cavity nesters. By cavities, we mean any small, dark opening into a space that can simulate a tree hole in nature. In commercial sites, starlings are happy to nest in cracks in buildings, on building ledges, on roof beams in warehouses, and on shopping center signs. In residential areas, the cavities starlings choose may be bird houses, or openings on your house such as vents, openings under a roof overhang, chimneys, or holes in gutters. Starlings only nest in cavities and are happy to use those provided by people—stove, dryer, and exhaust fan vents, for example—are popular nest sites, along with the bird houses we put up.

But people also complain about starlings getting in the trash. And settling in numbers onto lawns, where they are undoubtedly providing a service by eating insects.