Starling, the Common, or Sturnus vulgaris, L. an useful bird, inhabiting various parts of England. It is about eight inches length, and weighs from 3 to 4 ounces: the plumage is black, spotted with blue, purple, or yellow, though some times with white dots ; and the beak is yellow.
Starlings breed in hollow trees, the eaves of houses, in ruins, and even on lofty cliffs; where they construct their nests of straw, the fibres of roots, and similar materials : the female lays from 4 to 7 pale-greenish, ash-coloured eggs: the young afford a delicate repast; but the flesh of the old birds is so uncommonly bitter, from devouring worms and insects, that it cannot be eaten. As, however, these creatures have a pleasing note, and display great docility, they are frequently taken by bird-lime or other means, and taught to imitate human speech, in the same manner as Parrots.
The breeding of starlings, in a wild state, ought to be encouraged by every rational farmer; because they are of extensive service, by devouring noxious vermin, and eating no grain or seeds of plants, or other fruit, unless compelled by necessity.