Posted by: atowhee | May 18, 2016


“…And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you’re with
You gotta love the one you’re with
You gotta love the one you’re with
You gotta love the one you’re with…”
–Stephen Stills

The Eurasian Starling has been resident here in the U.S. for 125 years.  There are many humans in this country whose ancestors came after 1891.  So maybe we should recognize their stamina, hard-work, independence of welfare (sure they’ll take any hand-out they can get, so do our ‘natives’), fecundity, AND, especially their tunefulness.  For the first time I am living where Starlings are daily in my garden, at my feeders, perched on the roof talking to me as I work outside.  Not since the European Robins in my backyard in London have I lived next a bird so interested in what I do and so willing to comment, joyfully or even sarcastically…I can’t always tell. EUST ON BNCH (1280x960)The Starling is a singer both original and a mimic.  A sweet warble unique, chuckles, wolf-whistles, the call of the Jackdaw which is either inherent or passed down through dozens of generations from the Old Country where “Jacks” are often heard over Stonehenge or the local Norman church tower, a whirring sound like a small propeller turning, soft musical mumbles, whooooo, a good imitation of California Quail,  a phoney sounding Red-tail Hawk call that is not as good as Steller’s Jays often manage. That’s the start of my catalog.  There’ll likely be many more sounds.EUST-BNCH2EUST LAUNCHFew birds will share a suet feeder–parent and fledglings sometimes, gangs of Bushtits, that about covers it in my experience…and now, Starlings.  That’s taking gregariousness to a pretty high level.  Clearly they find my garden a suet-able place to dine. ST2-SUET (1280x960) ST-SUET (1280x960)Take-off: ST-SUET2 (1280x960)We have at least one pair nesting on our property, others come from the ‘hood to feed and then go home.

With climate change I think we better learn to love the ones we’re with…as it’s not likely all our current species will make it past that extinction void we living creatures now all must face.  I know they will take nests from smaller cavity-nesters.  Our ancestors brought Starlings here so now it’s our job to provide more nest sites for the other species they may bully.  Not a single Starling ever begged to be brought to America but they certainly have taken to the American way of life, no?


We have just completed a twelve-month run of record-hot months on the planet.


  1. Fun piece of writing on the starlings. That last picture was hard to decipher… I got the body and tail but what was happening with the head/bill was strange.

  2. The breeding pair and their young at my house sound just like meadowlarks.

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