Friendships between sparrows and starlings

Hello all! I wonder if any of you have seen this, or whether my local bird population is a little unusual..?! I have a small urban garden in Bristol that seems to accommodate much of the city's sparrow population (I bribe them with mealworms), and over the last couple of weeks something unusual has been happening. First I noticed that, when one flock of sparrows arrived in the garden, within it would be a juvenile starling. He seemed very content to be with the little sparrows and was completely accepted by them. I put it down to the starling's confusion, but since then I have seen increasingly integrated flocks, some where there are more starlings that sparrows and vice versa - they arrive, feed, chatter and leave together. The majority of the starlings have been young although there have been one or two adults. I love to watch them together and have had a quick online search to see if anyone else has mentioned the behaviour, but so far I haven't come up with anything. So, my question to you lot - Is this behaviour normal? Thanks for reading!
  • Hi Suzy and welcome to the Community. I also get lots of House Sparrows and Starlings in my garden and I do see mixed flocks of them quite regularly. I suspect that due to the Sparrows and Starlings being social birds by nature that it's quite normal for them to move together from one feeding area to the next. I often see a similar type of behaviour with the Jackdaws and Rooks, both of them once again being social birds. I hope this may help you.


    My bird photos HERE

  • Do adult sparrows feed fledgling starlings .
    I'm sure I've seen this in my garden.
    Or my eyes are deceiving me?
  • I’m having the same experience right now. I’ve seen the same single starling for multiple days and hanging out with the 20+ house sparrows that live in my yard. Is this common? I haven’t seen any other starlings around this season. 

  • I have sparrows feeding on and off all day in my garden as they live in the eves of the flat above mine. Local  starlings drop in and are often fighting amongst themselves to dominate access to the feeders . The sparrows tend to fly off or step back when the starlings arrive and I dont blame them!. A minority  of starlings will feed more quietly alongside the sparrows . 

  • I see it on a regular basis but i think it maybe the fact that the are both numerous & regular & they just seem to tolerate each other. The sparrows only give way if a starling tries to land in exactly the same spot. But if there are Starlings I always see sparrows there as well, maybe they enjoy the shark like feeding frenzy atmosphere, i know most of the other birds aren't too keen.