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The flight of the Starlings

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by oesdog, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. oesdog

    oesdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not knowing where to put this I decided to put it here.
    It is just an observation really. Some of you know I was fighting to keep a neighbor from cutting down trees right in the middle of the nesting season sometime ago. Not that I have any issues with someone cutting down trees on their own land though I am sad for the loss of trees of course. It was more that the neighbor had no reason to kill and destroy so many wild bird nests as well as that it is technically illegal here to disturb nesting birds.
    Many of the birds that nested there were starlings (there were a lot of others too that were lets say more loved and tolerated than the humble starling!) Having spent the best part of my chicken owning years fighting the starlings! Trying to keep their little greedy beaks out of my hard-earned chicken feed! Suddenly I found myself on their side for a change? Since then I have taken more of them to heart! The cheeky little devils love to play out the long battle of who can get into the chicken run while I try in vain to secure it! Darn [​IMG] Then when one gets stuck inside and flaps about in total horror and fear I can do nothing else but go rescue the poor critter only to find it back in the run 10 mins later with his beak in the feed!
    So I am a bit of a soft spot for the lovable rouges. This year DH made a lovely bird table and he bought fat balls and all sorts for their delight - in theory to keep them from the chicken feed - but as usual several cheeky little darlings got stuck steeling feed again several times over! They perch on the top of the house and wait for us to go inside and then "swarm!" They sit on the edge of the shed and look in the window - all 50 or so of them waiting for breakfast! 2 yrs back one poor thing got stuck in the wood burner chimney and we couldn’t get it out. We were both upset when we finally got the poor dead thing out. DH dismantled the chimney and now we have a gas burner instead! So I guess the little darling starlings are winning us over. - I love to watch them roost in the evenings when they do that wonderful fly past and roll and dive and make patterns in the sky in perfect formation.
    They have been doing that these past few days a lot and yesterday there was about 20 of them swinging from the container that holds the fat balls. Sometimes they line up on the fence and every fence panel is topped off with a tiny starling standing guard!
    Dh has been throwing bread and seed for them these last days, as they have become more and more fractious. They turn and roll and fly over the house with a perfectly lined Bombing run over the conservatory roof (so the roof gets peppered with bird scat!) I am sure they do this on purpose! Tonight I was out in the yard with the Dog to play ball and there was a group of about 30 overhead. Normally they would do their twisting and dancing and then land squawking in the trees that are left opposite to roost up for the night - but this time they flew over the top of the roost site and headed for the horizon. I lifted a hand and waved to them - and whispered to the wind be safe and see you next spring.
    The garden is strangely empty and the trees opposite are quiet. The sparrows are greedily eating at the fat balls that are left and the wood pigeons are not being bombarded by squawking flapping feathers, and I know they are gone! Strangely I feel a little sad - perhaps because I cannot take flight and join them on their long journey back across towards Europe and Africa. I cannot imagine flying for over a thousand miles without a break at speeds of over 30 miles an hour? Somehow I have managed a certain respect for my little friends. I will miss them and the silly fight over chicken feed! Part of me regrets not sprinkling the lawn with more these last few days to help them on their way and I hope that in the spring I see their little faces inside the run steeling my feed once again and making me smile!
    Oes [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Common Starlings are interesting little birds, a lot more intelligent than we tend to give them credit for, and they really are quite pretty. People keep them as pets. Do you get the huge migrating flocks of them over there? They are invasive over here and bad news for the native birds and a major financial burden on farmers.
     
  3. ChicknsRock

    ChicknsRock Overrun With Chickens

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  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Some do migrate ... off the Cornell site under Life History ...
    Migration (North America)
    Resident to short-distance migrant. Adult birds north of 40 degrees (the latitude of New York City) and many juveniles move south in winter, traveling down river valleys or along the coastal plains. Some birds spend the winter in northern Mexico and the Lesser Antilles, but most remain in continental North America.
     
  5. ChicknsRock

    ChicknsRock Overrun With Chickens

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    Interesting. [​IMG]
     
  6. oesdog

    oesdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some starlings migrate and others don't -
    The RSPB site says they are supposed to come here to Ireland and winter - from October on but I must have Irish Starlings because they don't do that here.
    They have definitely gone! They do so every year and turn up again in the spring. I guess it could be that they don’t much fancy the bitter winds that sweep in off the sea here and just simply go inland ( Though the RSPB also tells us that they should have their air displays near the coast? - we are on the coast??? But if they are not here we don;t get the display only around late July - August and also during the matting early on in the year.) They could as I thought they did go across to Europe and Africa? Who knows unless we tag one! Lol :) They simply don’t winter in the trees here. We are now only left with a handful of stragglers and some Crows, Rooks and sparrows, a pair of Wood pigeons, a blackbird and a robin. Soon we will have loads of gulls coming in from the sea when the weather turns bad and then the crows and the Gulls will fight over the roosts - that used to house the Starlings! So it all gets a bit mad here. But the Starlings don't stay and neither do the Swallows, Sparrows and house martins. It would be good to know where they do go???? I so would love to attach a camera? [​IMG] Though they might just end up a few fields over sheltering from the winter sea winds!

    Oes
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013

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