Our objective was to determine the role that European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) play in the epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in dairy cattle. We visited 150 dairy farms in Ohio twice during summer and fall months from 2007 to 2009. Fresh faecal pats from 30 lactating cows were collected during each visit. Information on farm management and environmental variables was gathered through a questionnaire administered to the farm owner. The number of starlings observed on the farm was also recorded. Approximately 1% of dairy cattle and 24% of farms were positive for E. coli O157. Risk factors associated with the presence of E. coli O157 in faecal pats included contact between adult cattle and calves, types or number of ventilation and manure management systems and number of birds per milking cow.