So what are the starlings doing now? I have neglected the namesake in favor of the show of color and sound. The birds have not left, everyone I run into is still trying to figure out how not to feed them or encourage the party-like atmosphere that ensues every time starlings get together. A bar fight usually is the end result.
But what is really going on behind the scenes. One guy told me how the starlings used to make a point of removing the trash from their nest, a small white bundle tied with a string, and promptly dropping it into his father’s clean, sanitized pool. This went on and on. Trees were removed and shots were fired; strong, strong words were passed . The birds relocated but the bundles always found their way back into the wet waste fill. Waging war on nature never goes well.
The starling female is persistent. She has no compunction about laying eggs in another nest if she hasn’t found a mate yet. A matter of pride and biology takes over as the weather screams ‘Now!’. She will sneak into some one’s home site, and deposit one, maybe two of her own bundles of joy then scuttle back out again as if she had just been adjusting the drapes.
As for the male; I think he is a good guy in general. He chooses the nesting site and builds it up, then he finds a mate. She will take out half of what he did, (sound familiar?) and revamp things to her liking adding feathers and grasses. They both sit on the eggs, feed the little ones, clean the nest. The male, in particular, has a harder time letting go and often will hang around longer with the awkward juveniles, probably telling them stories about the time he took down a hawk.
Family life is important to starlings which is the reason a lot of people have a hard time putting up with the the birds in their yard. When you invite one to have a nibble, you often get twenty; and every bird has an opinion that can not be staunched. If we could only understand what they were saying, maybe we would be more tolerant. Starlings are amazing mimics; they can learn other bird’s calls, as well as the sounds of machinery. I have met a woman who is teaching a starling to talk and will soon arrange lectures for him so the bird can make his case in front of audiences. Finally, the truth come out.
Starlings are from an old family and a very large genius of birds so they are not going away anytime soon for all those people that just don’t appreciate the bird. And, I submit, thank goodness for that as we had enough loss in the avian world with rumors of more to come.