Starlings Do It

I last saw European Starlings near the Schoolhouse Creek outfall in August last year. Those all looked like adults. They had little white spots all over, indicating that they were not in breeding mode. Just now I saw a family group deep inside the park, with a couple of adults in breeding plumage and three or four juveniles, plus three or four fledglings who could fly but still relied on parents to feed them. This little group was only part of a flock of two dozen or so that flew into and among the tall trees on the forested ridge, and this may be only a fraction of a flock in the hundreds that park visitors described to me this past week. This family group felt so much at home that they did not shy away when I set up my tripod on the paved path, out in the open, less than 20 yards away. It looks very much like they’ve been breeding and nesting right here in the park.

In the video below, the birdsong on the sound track is courtesy of a House Finch off camera. Starlings can sing their own songs and also mimic the songs of other birds, but this little group was not in the mood for vocalizing at the moment.

The adult has a yellow beak and iridescent colors in a black coat, in sunlight. The juveniles are grey-brown and have a mostly dark beak.

European Starling adult in breeding plumage
European Starling juvenile

Links: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon

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