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starlings.

July 1, 2011

Starlings look black when they are juveniles, and their heads look just a bit odd. More pointy than most birds – hard to explain. When they are older, their coloration is spotted with white. I’ve not seen any adult starlings up close.

I took care of many songbirds late spring and summer of last year when I was at the wildlife center back in California.

Some of the birds were starlings.

In the past at the center, the starlings that were brought in were killed.. put into a sealed fish tank, and gassed. I never had to kill any of them. I would not have if asked. I was a volunteer, not a paid employee, and volunteers didn’t have to do what they found highly objectionable. Paid employees did what they were told, even if they didn’t want to, even if certain tasks were hazardous. We had many potentially dangerous animals at the wildlife center.

This past summer, at least for awhile, starlings were put in the juvenile songbird room where I worked, and I fed and cared for them just like all the other birds in the room.

The starlings were kind of fun. While I leaned in with my..what should I call them.. small tongs.. large tweezers? I held bits of kibble, sort of like dog food, and would hold each piece for a bird, and the bird would eat it, or 3 or more would go for it. While I had my hand in the cage feeding one or some birds another bird would hop up on my wrist and ride around on my hand for a bit. This was amusing. It was mostly starlings that did this.

After a month or so, there were no starlings in the room where I worked, so I am guessing they were killed?

Since they are a non-native species, it is legal to own a starling as a pet. I hear they are intelligent birds and make great pets. An older lady who had been working at the center for a decade had one as a pet for quite some time, and loved her bird.

I was hoping to adopt one, but never did.. got too busy, then too tired.

Starlings make a mean, intense sound.. not pretty like the songs of most other birds.

The starling vocalizations are loud, and challenging.

I have heard more starlings in the area in Idaho where I live, and this is not good. I sometimes hear them late mornings, early afternoons.

These birds are a terribly invasive species. There are many millions of them in this country.

Starlings take over territory from other birds. I am concerned this might be happening in Idaho.

There is a nest of baby sparrows about 15 ft. above my window, but I have not been hearing them past few days. I hope the starlings have not got at it.

I don’t know if starlings go after nests of other birds like jays and crows do. Those birds are merciless, but don’t take over territory or overbreed, as far as I know.

Until a bit over a century ago, there were no starlings in America.

Some stupidly rich Englishman who moved to New York wanted every single bird species that had appeared in any of Shakespeare’s plays to be living in Central Park. Isn’t it amazing how so many filthy rich people can be so astonishingly stupid! – these people must be “old money” – from wealthy families.. people who have inherited their money.

At one point in time, were only 6 pairs of starlings in America, which the astonishingly stupid Englishman had imported.

The introduction of starlings into this country played havoc on the natural ecosystem, and we are still living with the results today.

Now, as I already mentioned, there are millions of these birds in America.

When I hear the local starlings up in the tall evergreen trees, I toss pine cones in the direction of where I hear these birds.

I love the birds we have out here.. the ones besides the starlings. I want the starlings to go away, not increase their number.

Since I don’t know of anything I can do to decrease the starling population, besides try to scare them off when I hear them, I try not to worry about it.

But each time I hear them, I do worry. A century or two from now, there might be very few birds besides starlings.

—–

As of 12/20/14,  I have not noticed any starling flocks taking over. I have seen them at least once in the reserve, but they were just passing through. It appears my concern was unfounded. I am glad for that.

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