I was checking the headlines and noticed a blurb about Starlings (the bird). I thought instantly of my relationship with these little creatures. You see, at that hotel bar I used to work at- way up- 10 stories high, we would watch the Starlings at sunset. HUGE flocks of starlings would swoop and sweep in really tight, really amazing formation.
Many things in that bar became predicable (after so many years)- But the starlings, no matter how many times we’d all seen them were ALWAYS new, always beautiful, always mysterious……..
What were they doing? Eating, communicating, keeping safe (safety in numbers)?
Someone always had a theory, a bit of bird info or fact-
I, of course, made my own investigation-
- Both males and females can mimic human speech. (Some people keep starlings as pets). Starlings can also imitate the song of many other birds like the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Meadowlark, Northern Bobwhite. Vocalizations inside the nestbox during nest building can be lengthy and quite varied.
- An estimated 1/3 to 1/2 of returning females nest in the same box or area in consecutive years. That is why it’s even more important not to let them nest in the first place.
- A starling couple can build a nest in 1-3 days.
- A migrating flock can number 100,000 birds. They roost communally in flocks that may contain as many as a million birds.
- After a number of misguided attempts to introduce starlings to North America, perhaps 60-100 starlings were released into Central Park, in New York City, in 1890 and 1891, by an acclimatization society headed by Eugene Schieffelin. Their goal was to introduce all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. The entire North American population, now numbering more than 200,000,000, descended from these birds.