Sunday, September 14, 2014

Outdoors -- starlings

Starling season is over.  Last Thursday scores of them used our backyards as a staging area for their migration.
I first realized it when things got really noisy.
Finally I heard the breezy whistle typical of starlings and got up from some knitting to watch.
The snappy yellow bills on the males are gone; it's not the time of year to mate.
But I could see that they were smaller than blackbirds and the females stood out in their speckly brown feathers.  Female blackbirds are just about the same black as the males.
They were all over the trees.
They were splashing in my bird bath, a dozen at a time.
They were jumping all over my pokeweed for snacks,
those of them that weren't hunting last-minute Japanese beetle grubs on shaven lawns.
I don't shave my lawn, it's 3 inches high, so I don't get Japanese beetles.

It took the whole afternoon for the lot of them to settle who was taking which flight out
and who would  wait and go later
and to sort out this year's crop of kids.
Now it's very quiet.
Except for the sparrows re-establishing their rights, and the chickadees and titmice settling turf battles.
And oh yeah, my mockingbird warbling to show that he's not going anywhere this winter.
Need to get him some raisins and mealworms.
After all, it's officially autumn now that the starlings are gone, and winter usually follows autumn.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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