Flock Stars: Understanding Starling Symbolism
Birds capture our hearts and imagination with their airborne dances and freedom. Whether they are in full regalia or simply strutting on our windows, their beauty inspires us to spread our wings and allow our true selves to show.
Starlings are medium-sized passerines known for their distinctly large and intimidating flight formations. Much like most birds of their species, starlings communicate through songs using whistled notes and soft rattles, even possessing the unique ability to mimic sounds and bird calls.
Our ancestors have long considered starling murmurations as a sign of omens and sent messages, thus to fully understand, it might be best for us to discuss starling symbolism.
Starling Bird Symbolism
The starling’s habit of feeding on overripe fermenting fruit has led many to believe that these birds may become intoxicated by the natural alcohol and still have the audacity to flock in great numbers.
Although somewhat eerie, starling murmurations can be an enchanting sight to behold as these birds gather in the evening and perform jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics before dropping to their preferred roosting sight. That practice does not only provide safety for these dark-colored plumage birds, but they also benefit from the warmth that their flock brings and is their way to share information.
Invaluable for Birding
If you are into birds and birding, binoculars are an invaluable tool to any birder and can be the difference between seeing a bird up close or passing it by.
If you're looking for a pair of binoculars, get acquainted with what they have available before making that purchase decision.
Below we put together a list of our favorites for you.
If you’ve been wondering what the starling as a spirit animal or totem could mean for you, consider the following. The starling may be urging you to:
- Embrace change and let go of old patterns and ways of thinking
- Listen to your intuition, trust your instincts and follow your heart
Starlings are also a representation of group etiquette and our standing within that clique. Their presence encourages us to recognize and embrace our social status, whatever it may be, as it allows us to see highly of ourselves for utmost certainty and peace.
They signify the importance of communication in relationships, serving as a reminder to be mindful of the things you say and highlighting the tendency of people to misunderstand, which in turn does more harm than good.
On the other hand, starlings embody destruction and a lack of respect towards others’ property and feelings. A flock can act viciously, evicting even the much larger birds from their nests, breaking their eggs, and killing their young.
They epitomize our negative and at times hurtful traits, showing disrespect towards other people, breaking their hearts, and damaging relationships.
As a spirit animal, starlings imbue in us the significance of family and community and of learning how to co-exist with the people around us without creating any sort of tension.
The appearance of starlings in your life may indicate that you need to further understand the pecking order within family relationships and that doing so would help promote peace and unity.
But the starling’s aggressive nature also tells us that breaking away from people, even family members, especially if they have proven to be highly toxic and hurtful is not at all bad.
Starlings awaken in us to prioritize family relationships without forgetting to look out for ourselves.
Perhaps due to a few unsettling behaviors, starlings are often regarded as a path that leads to darkness. They begin their plight quietly, gathering strength as they grow in larger numbers, and then coming into their own as the sky darkens and their flock reaches its peak.
This amazing phenomenon is a spiritual depiction of the times when darkness befell in our lives, clouding our vision off the light, affecting our spirits, and eventually our relations.
Starlings stir us to see things in a lighter perspective, to fight off the mist that somewhat overcomes the goodness in us, and to never hesitate to seek the guidance and help of our family and community. They act as indicators that no matter how dark and challenging things may be, we are never alone.
As we know, animal totems are a symbolic personification of your spirit animal.
Starlings are believed to place a strong connection towards us in which they can affect us throughout. They symbolize our skills and traits, silently influencing our decisions before we emerge vigorously after we’ve gathered enough strength and courage.
Starlings take the role of a spiritual guide, leading us in all aspects and ensuring our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Having them present in your life is an indication of the pitfalls of improper communication which, if not carefully handled, can be a harmful rather than helpful force.
They spiritually stimulate us to express and speak our minds, reach fiercely for our goals, and to accomplish tasks early instead of waiting for the last minute.
This amazing bird as an animal totem teaches us about sympathy and mindfulness, encouraging us to share and disperse our ideas and perceptions.
Starlings introduce to us a sense of hope and protection and how important unity in this world is, but also the understanding of when to finally let go and allow ourselves and our loved ones to grow.
The starling symbolism in different cultures
In some cultures, starlings are seen as messengers from the gods or other spiritual realms. In others, they’re considered to be bringers of good luck and fortune. No matter what culture you come from, it’s clear that the starling is a powerful symbol with a deep meaning.
The Starling in Welsh folklore
According to Welsh mythology, a princess (called princess Branwen) who had been treated unfairly by her Irish husband taught a starling to deliver a message to her brother, which sparked a major conflict between Wales and Ireland.
Only seven of the husband’s supporters survived. Due to its aggressive behavior toward other birds, the starling is sometimes associated with warriors.
Mozart inspired by a Starling
Mozart was not just a musical genius, but he also had an affinity for birds. In his youth, it is said that his pet starling would contribute variations to some of the composer’s works even though they never communicated in any way other than through song!
The starling wasn’t your average pet. When Mozart recorded the expenses in his diary, he also transcribed a melody professed to be sung by this new bird–and it turned out that thirty-four Kreuzer was less than what most people paid for one musical performance!
The Ancient Romans
Starlings were unquestionably widespread in ancient Rome, they swarmed in enormous flocks that we now refer to as murmurations, with thousands of individuals bending and cascading in the sky in breathtaking geometric designs (see some great photos of murmurations here).
Roman diviners, known as augurs, examined these patterns of the starling’s flocks in search of clues about the mood of the gods that day. Major decisions required divination, and the augurs would turn to the heavens if a vital conflict or political intrigue was about to break out. It was known as “taking the auspices” because it involved waiting to see if the gods would approve or not.
Japan methodology: God vs Starling
Ainu (Japanese god) went to the river for water, but when he began dipping it up found that it was dirty and unfit to drink. He looked around him in search of an explanation until his eyes fell upon one unfortunate starling covered with filth washing nearby; this made him really upset and he cursed the poor starling fiercely.
Because of the starling’s wrongdoing, God was also furious and descended from heaven to ask, “Why have you done this?” Instead of drinking river water going forward, God said, “Whenever it rains, drink from the water which drops from the lichen growing on the trunks of trees.” Continue reading here.
Starling in the House Meaning
We have always put birds in high regard, believing them to be messengers from the spiritual realm or even as a portrayal of the gods themselves. Their ability to soar high above us has gained them a mythical reputation related to luck, life, and death. In general, the associations of the bird in house meaning/ flying into your house are not good.
A starling who finds its way into your home is an indication that God or a deceased loved one is trying to relay you a message. Many would say that it probably is a bad omen but it might just be a reminder to keep your windows closed and your heart open.
Birds when in captivity would typically struggle to break themselves free which could imply that if at that moment you feel in any way trapped, be it in a stressful job or a taxing relationship, it might be the perfect time to call it quits and move on.
Starlings flying into your house mean that a person whom you can connect with in terms of their beliefs and behavior is about to land and alter your life’s priorities and direction. It might not necessarily be someone that you end up having a loving relationship with but his traits and good spirits would make you hope that the friendship would be life-long.
While most birds are known to bring luck or misfortune, starlings as spirit animals focus on giving great value to relationships and communication. Watching them twist and twirl as a group in the air can admittedly be quite breathtaking, but nothing beats the peace and calm of knowing that you are guided by a spirit animal that is as wonderful as the yellow-beaked starling.
Read also about Grackle vs Starling.
[Video] Flight of the Starlings
We know a lot of factual information about the starling—its size and voice, where it lives, how it breeds and migrates—but what remains a mystery are how it flies in murmurations, or flocks, without colliding. This short film by Jan van IJken was shot in the Netherlands, and it captures the birds gathering at dusk, just about to start their “performance.” Listen well and you’ll be able to hear how this beautiful phenomenon got its name.