Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Startling Starlings

At a distance European Starlings look to be totally black, so it’s always startling to see them up close, or with the aid of binoculars, and notice their striking colors. I also might point out that these three birds are in their dullest non-breeding plumage of fall/winter. I photographed them yesterday during my walk out Mehl Creek Road.  There were a dozen of them all lined up on some power lines, and while I was taking the photo, another twelve came in.  I wrote down their numbers in my note book and started to walk on when at least double that number, in other words over fifty more flew in. Nationally their population number and geographical spread are quite startling too.  They were originally brought over from Europe in 1890 and released in New York’s Central Park by the local Shakespeare society in an effort to duplicate the birds of the famous author’s time.  In spite of their attractive iridescent plumage, they are basically unwanted guests because of their competition with native species, their messy nesting habits, and their crop damaging feeding practices.  

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