Posted by: atowhee | January 15, 2017


I am still collecting incidents of startling starling mimicry, since we have no thrashers hereabouts, no Song Thrush and very few Mockers (yet).  Here’s what I have so far:

Zia Fukuda



I heard a Swainson’s thrush that couldn’t have possibly been a Swainson’s thrush at this time of year.  After listening to the “weep” call several times, it was finally followed by more typical starling calls. I’ve also been fooled into thinking I have California quail here, but alas,  starlings again.


Carol Brockfield



The starlings that come to my feeders are the most easily scared off of any bird. A slight knock on the kitchen window will send them flying off. They come for suet, but will eat sunflower chips when the suet is gone. They come singly, in pairs, and sometimes by the half-dozen or more. Where I see them in bigger groups is patrolling the lawn for small bugs and don’t-know-whats.
Linda Fink



Hi Harry,

I think you were not in the area yet when I told about the most unusual starling imitation I’ve heard on our farm near Grand Ronde Agency. At the time (quite a few years ago), I was having trouble with the neighbor’s horse getting into our pasture with our horses and causing trouble. One of my mares would scream and that’s how I knew the neighbor’s horse was here again. I’d go and lead her home.

This day I was working in front of the barn when I heard the unmistakable whinny of my mare. Oh no! The neighbor’s horse was here again! But, wait… it wasn’t coming from the pasture. It was coming from above my head in the barn hay loft!! I knew there could not be a horse in the hay loft.

Yep, a starling. With a pitch perfect imitation of my mare’s whinny.



Pamela Johnson:

That’s often the tip-off, the sound is coming from overhead, like shorebirds in the trees. For example, Killdeer and yellowlegs.


I have also heard starlings imitate California Quail and Killdeer plus the European birds I mentioned in my earlier blog:




  1. Amazing testimonials…… A horse no less!

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