European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Much like Rock Pigeons, European Starlings can be found throughout Duval County, particularly in urban core areas and along just about any street with telephone poles. This has obviously not always been the case, in fact the first and second documented occurrences of this species are from March 1925 and a year later on 24 March 1926 (Grimes, 1943). Ten years went by before the third observation on 20 April 1936, and by 1938 they were fairly widespread in the Jacksonville area. Starlings started gracing the Christmas Bird Count in 1950 and have been abundant on the annual count ever since.
Thankfully, the species is uncommon-to-rare in most of our favored birding hotspots such as Huguenot Memorial Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, and Reddie Point Preserve, but you can almost certainly tally them on your way to any of those locations. Blue Cypress Park (near Reddie Point Preserve) hosts many, sometimes in flocks up to a hundred birds. Otherwise, search the powerlines and intersections along Merrill Road, anywhere in Arlington, or urban streets throughout the downtown core of Jacksonville.
If you really want to see a “Starling spectacle”, it is worth checking out the corner of Gun Club Road and North Main Street Drive, next to Junior’s Seafood – they often congregate in numbers of several hundred birds and the cacophony is quite impressive.
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
There is one report of Common Myna in Duval County, and it comes from 3 May 2004. This bird was observed for several days bringing nesting material to a cavity in the parking lot of the Eckerd’s drug store off Atlantic Boulevard. It was apparently attempting to nest with European Starlings (Powell, personal communication, 2006). That area of town has exotic pet stores over decades, and this bird was likely an escapee. It’s not surprising that the species has not been reported in the county since, and is not one that should ever be expected here.