In addition to forming large monotypic flocks, Kern (2001) notes European starlings may form multi-species flocks with a variety of species including blackbirds (Turdus spp.), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and cowbirds (Molothrus spp.).Invasion History: Native to Eurasia and North Africa, Sturnus vulgaris was intentionally introduced to North America in 1890-1891. Accounts reveal that a New York industrialist inspired by the portrayal of the bird in the plays of William Shakespeare released 100 individuals in Central Park, although several other attempts at introduction were also made (Chapman 1966). The birds introduced to New York rapidly multiplied and expanded their introduced range. The species was first reported from Florida in 1918, less than 30 years after the initial introduction, and the first report of nesting activity in Florida dates to Pensacola, 1932. By 1949, Sturnus vulgaris nesting had expanded to Orlando (Sprunt 1954, GSMFC).In the U.S. the species is considered to be established and expanding, and eradication is not considered to be a plausible form of management (ISSG). High fecundity, polygynous reproductive behavior, and broad generalist dietary and habitat requirements facilitate the ability of S. vulgaris to rapidly multiply and invade new areas (Craig and Feare 1999; Kahane 1988). Potential to Compete With Natives: European starlings are aggressive competitors capable of displacing native populations. The generalist feeding habits and efficiency at foraging for invertebrates as well as seeds and fruits suggests Sturnus vulgaris are likely to come into direct competition with a wide range of co-occurring birds.Airola and Grantham (2003) report a correlation between the decline in the number of urban nesting purple martens (Progne subis) and an increase in the number of co-occurring Sturnus vulgaris. There is widespread concern that overpopulation by Sturnus vulgaris is capable of reducing avian diversity (Chow 2000). Possible Economic Consequences of Invasion: Although Sturnus vulgaris is an important consumer of crop-damaging insects, the net economic effect of this introduced species is negative. The primary impact of Sturnus vulgaris is related to the agricultural crop damage the species causes. Large migrating flocks can inflict massive damage to fruit and grain crops. Starlings also harbor a number of diseases that pose serious health risks for human populations, including blastomycosis, beef measles, and histoplasmosis. Additionally, they are a nuisance species that poses an airstrip hazard, and can damage roof linings amd other man-made structures (Weber 1979, Kahane 1988, Craig and Feare 1999, Chow 2000, Adeney 2001).Sturnus vulgaris is listed by ISSG as as among "100 of the Worst" global invasive organisms.
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