Zach- hopefully some other folks will weigh in too. Starling is great for small soft hackles and wets. Here's what I use it for
Starling skin - Back side up
High Center “cape feathers” great size 18-22 feathers that are black with brown tips. They can be used on a ton of wet fly patterns to imitate Baetis, and other hatches as well as on classic patterns like Black Gnats etc. Similar feathers lower on the back or out to the edges of the shoulders for larger feathers.
Lower back larger black feathers with orange tips can be painted and used for junglecock substitute: Fly Fishing on the Web Tying with Jungle Cock
(but i haven't tried it).
Starling skin - Belly side up
Under side of wings (coverts) -Light gray feathers with buff edges can be used as a substitute in classic wet fly recipes calling for Snipe hackle (or anything else calling for small dun feathers)
Wing flight feathers- matched paired slips for small winged wets from left and right feathers can be made (as you would use paired duck wings). Use the same corresponding feathers from each side of the wings to make the paired slips.
Here’s another link that might help:
The Unsung Starling |