Thursday, July 8, 2010


Yes, I know the starlings are brat birds, but they're in the garden and they're fascinating to watch. The first week of July is always a noisy week, a wall of noise. Baby starlings and one mulberry tree in full bloom. It is the loudest tree on West End Avenue.

In this extreme heat I'm staying near home, mostly under trees which is a fine way to observe bird activity. I came upon this starling baby sitting still. Most extraordinary. They don't sit still especially when food is available. They don't stay still near humans. I waited. What happened took place so fast that I missed the definitive picture, but I've seen this before so knew what I'd seen. The baby barfed up a pellet. No wonder it had been sitting still so long. Its body was getting ready to do something. I've seen raptors bring up pellets as well as robin nestlings. I've gotten pictures of the baby robins barfing. I should not have been surprised, but didn't expect this. Bringing up pellets is nothing like human mess. The pellet looks like an amond-sized mass, solid. This starling barfed, examined the ejected pellet and resumed normal activity. Demanding and searching for food.

The baby starlings are persistent, scream for food, but every once in a while they examine things on their own, not always the most appropriate things. Live and learn?

The mulberry tree is filled with starlings. I can't figure out how they can scream and eat at the same time.

This is another bonkers method. They see something possibly edible, approach it and open their mouths. Stop. That's all they do, as if something will automatically fly in.

Eventually they figure out what's edible and how to get it in the right place, but the learning process can be very funny. Not exactly geniuses. The parents get tired of their screaming kids and abandon them. Survival of the smartest.

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