Is your cattle feeding operation a bird feeder?

– B. E. Depenbusch, J.S. Drouillard and C.D. Lee. 2011. Feed depredation by European starlings in a Kansas feedlot. Human-Wildlife Interactions 5(1):58-65. (Condensed by S. L. Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist)

European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were first introduced to the United States in the late 1800s. It is believed that starlings were imported from Europe and released in New York City’s Central Park so that all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works would inhabit the new country.

Nearly one-third (i.e., 200 million) of the world’s starling population inhabits the North American continent. Starlings inhabiting the High Plains are not considered migratory and remain in the same general area throughout the year. However, starlings from northern climates can escape snow-covered feeding grounds by migrating up to a distance of over 900 miles. During much of the year, small, inconspicuous flocks of starlings feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. However, during winter months, large flocks of several hundred to 1 million starlings will share common feeding and roosting sites. These large flocks prefer to roost in coniferous trees, which provide protection from wind and other adverse weather conditions. An average distance about 9.3 miles can exist between roost and feedings sites Continue reading