Posted by: atowhee | May 30, 2021

STARLING, FLEDGLING, DARLING

I know the starling is an imported invasive, an undocumented alien with no papers and no welcome. But so were all my ancestors and probably some of yours. I have one grandfather many generations back who was a Dutch “Indian hunter” in Westchester County, New Amsterdam. If there were a statue to him in any cemetery I should try to have it removed. Meanwhile, I needs must be tolerant of other invaders in this hemisphere. After all, our species is apparently invasive anywhere beyond Africa.

With that I have guiltily enjoyed the fledgling starlings that came into our garden this past week. At times there were as many as seven of them. Each still carried its bright yellow gape. The drab plumage was like a faded female Brewer’s Blackbird. There was none of the sheen or polka dots of the adult starlings. They were loud and making squealing whistles. They acted like a busload of twelve-ear0olds on a school outing. They would stumble, they would cling to the suet feeder and then fall off, fluttering wildly as if drowning in air. They would shove one another, squawk, band about knock seeds to the ground which they would never go recover. You can’t blame the parents for having said, “Go do it yourself you pushy punk.”

There is a single pair of juncos nesting somewhere in the vicinity. Close enough they come to use our clean, fresh-water bird baths in the shade.

SAN FRANCISCO GREAT HORNED OWLS

Photos by Tom Kuhn:


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