European Starling on a Purple Martin Association Trap box. (When the bird enters the box, it steps on a trigger which drops a bar over the entrance so the bird can not exit.
I allowed this bird to start a nest to get some photos. Starlings are non-native invasive birds, and are serious nest site competitors for native birds. Never allow them to use a nestbox. (They can not fit in a regular 1 & 1/2 inch or 1 9/16" bluebird sized entrance hole.)
Starling nest in a barnyard (using lots of hay). Photo by Bet Zimmerman.
Nest Description: The nest is bulky and slovenly. The cavity is filled up with grass, weed stems, twigs, corn husks, dried leaves, pine needles, etc, with a depression near the back. Feathers, rootlets, paper, plastics, cloth, string etc. may also be added. The cup lining may include feathers, fine bark, leaves, fine grass etc.
Some nests also have fresh green plants (thought to work as fumigants against parasites and pathogens) like yarrow in them. May
occupy boxes with holes larger than 1.5 inches.
These are probably starling nestlings. Photo by Jay Brindo
Older starling nestlings with pin feathers. Notice beak has begun to elongate.
Adult feeding mealworms to fledgling. Photo by Dave Kinneer.
The student of Nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the perennial miracles she offers to his inspection, perhaps the most worthy of admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its embryo.
-Thomas Henry Huxley, British biologist and educator. Reflection #54, Aphorisms and Reflections, selected by Henrietta A. Huxley, Macmillan, 1907.
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