Author Topic: pet starling?  (Read 4112 times)

Offline Otera

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pet starling?
« on: June 01, 2011, 09:48:58 AM »
so, I woke up one morning to a particularly loud bit of chirping in my walls.  the morning before I found a bird's nest in a vent tube in a crawlspace.  turns out that the tube more or less disintegrated overnight.  So when I open the door to the crawlspace there is the really ugly little bird, mostly naked, eyes open, with pin feathers starting to push through the skin.... I planned on taking the baby off to The Raptor Trust (an amazing bird rehab center in NJ, where I live.  they regularly take nests of baby birds and raise them to adulthood and release them to the wild) because I thought it was a baby robin, just judging from the size.  However, I never got a chance to do so... two bothersome weeks later of feeding this thing every half hour, we realized that we do NOT have a robin.  we have a starling.  unlike the robin we thought it was, we CANNOT release this animal into the wild.  we are stuck with this starling because when raised by people they don't understand how to totally be a bird. 

before anyone gets on my case about not putting the baby back where momma and poppa can care for it, the rest of the brood was dead three days later.  I had to empty the crawlspace and remove the poor little dead things.  The only one to survive is our baby.  And if anyone's going to complain about me keeping a wild bird even if it wouldn't be able to survive in the wild, it's a EUROPEAN starling in New Jersey.  these creatures are often killed because they are a non-native species that is overly aggressive, chasing off native birds or even killing them to gain prime nesting real estate.


and here's our starling. http://fav.me/d3h98i6  it likes to fly about and land on our cats.  thankfully, neither of them have tried to eat it yet, but we do NOT let it stay on the cats for safety reasons and we keep a hand inches away if the bird is perched next to the cats.  if they make any questionable moves, the bird is in our hands.  just because there hasn't been an issue yet does NOT mean that the cats are never going to bother the bird, we know that.  and while we were not looking to have a bird with a twenty year lifespan, it would be a shame to lose this bird to the cats after the amount of work we put into keeping it alive

Offline petunia

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 12:43:46 PM »
well it was nice of you to feed the little bird and help it survive but I gotta say, I can't imagine keeping one of these as a pet, they seem like incredibly messy birds

but then I have never kept birds so for all I know, all birds are messy

if I were you, I would still contact wild life rehab place to find out if it's even possible to keep a starling in captivity and if so, what it's needs are

and how to keep it safe from the cats while still allowing it to have as normal a life as possible

maybe google and see if you can find anyone else who has done it? unless that's something you have already done

Offline Otera

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 01:02:57 PM »
well it was nice of you to feed the little bird and help it survive but I gotta say, I can't imagine keeping one of these as a pet, they seem like incredibly messy birds

but then I have never kept birds so for all I know, all birds are messy

if I were you, I would still contact wild life rehab place to find out if it's even possible to keep a starling in captivity and if so, what it's needs are

and how to keep it safe from the cats while still allowing it to have as normal a life as possible

maybe google and see if you can find anyone else who has done it? unless that's something you have already done


oooooohohoho yes.  We did google it, and they are kept as pets, they imprint on people as soon as they get fed by a person, and people become very attached to them.  they are known as "the poor man's myna".  I found an individual on DeviantArt who has had one for a few years.  she says that they are marvelous pets and directed me to "StarlingTalk" a website which seems to be the absolute authority on starlings. They give pictures so you can tell if you have a baby starling, lists of starling diets, what they can and cannot eat, what sort of cage they should have, and what you can expect in owning a starling.  The site warns against letting them go, saying that they "don't recognize that they are birds".  I'm not entirely sure about the way they worded it, but one thing that says it all is that the starling ALWAYS lands on our cats.  favorite perch in the house.  the bird has decided that our half feral cat is another starling, and gets jealous if the cat is getting attention when the bird is out.  It will fly right over and get in between you and the cat.

The half feral cat doesnt much mind at all, the only time he's taken a swipe at the bird was this morning when the bird decided there were bugs in the cat's toes. he didn't like that at all.  however, the half feral cat is very deliberate.  he makes big motions slowly, making it easy to grab the bird (as occurred this morning) and move it to safety in time. love that cat.  best thing about that cat is that we overfeed it. so it's never interested in eating the other pets. I mean, sure we have a lizard he likes to hunt, but the lizard is never out.  the rats and bird just aren't food to this cat that was abandoned in the woods....

Offline petunia

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 03:36:22 PM »
 :yelcutelaugh: :yelcutelaugh: :yelcutelaugh:

that sounds like one confused bird, indeed! lol
I imagine the cat is a bit confused by the bird's behavior too

so you've got a pet starling, does he/she have a name?

I have a cat who is jealous of any other animal I pay attention to so I can relate- just never thought of a bird as the jealous type, too funny

well congratulations on your new pet!


Offline Otera

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 12:20:03 AM »
:yelcutelaugh: :yelcutelaugh: :yelcutelaugh:

that sounds like one confused bird, indeed! lol
I imagine the cat is a bit confused by the bird's behavior too

so you've got a pet starling, does he/she have a name?

I have a cat who is jealous of any other animal I pay attention to so I can relate- just never thought of a bird as the jealous type, too funny

well congratulations on your new pet!

well, for now the bird's name is Peepers.  we'll need to go through trouble to see for certain if it is male or female, as starlings have unusually low sexual dimorphism compared to other birds.  if it turns out to be female, it will be named Clarice.

Offline Sorraia

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 09:02:46 PM »
Well.... I'm a wildlife biologist. If my opinion means anything, I encourage you to keep it as a pet and NOT release it, for the exact reasons you stated. (Not much worse than watching non-native wildlife kill and injure native wildlife for no reason other than to take over its nest. And as a result watching the populations of native wildlife plummet the a domino effect following.)

Can't offer you much advice though.
NOM-ology A study in rat nutrition.
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Offline Otera

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Re: pet starling?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 09:29:28 AM »
yeah, there's one other thing to why we're not releasing it- it has splay leg. it wouldn't be able to stand proper and hunt bugs.  and, yeah, starlings are an extremely.... aggressive.... invasive species.  people kill them to manage the population. I'd rather have this thing as a pet than have anyone kill it.