Archive for June 2013
The new broods of young starlings are out and about in force right now; a little late, like everything else and (also like everything else) seemingly growing at an amazing rate. In their juvenile plumage, with pale bibs, they look not unlike fluffy little penguins as they continually scrap with their siblings, making a lot of raucous noise as they do so. (A bit like human children, really …)
Their parents are working hard, teaching them to forage for insects in the earth and grass and studiously ignoring their cries of “Feed me! Feed me!” as they waddle behind mum or dad, obviously wondering why they’re being expected to do the tedious hunting bit when they’re used to their mouths regularly being filled.
The young are also introduced to what’s regularly served up on the island’s many bird tables, from suet balls and suet cakes to juicy raisins or assorted kitchen scraps. On the Twitcher table a family of four greedily fought over a piece of exceedingly ripe and smelly Brie, their squawks a little muted until they’d wiped the excess gooey stuff out of their nostrils.
By next year they will have shed their cute penguin garb, donned their glorious coat of many colours and will be finding out for themselves what hard work it is being a parent!
There’s some interesting starling information on the BRITISH GARDEN BIRDS WEBSITE, including chatty bits about what the starlings get up to in the author’s own garden. I’m not entirely convinced by the author’s assertion that boy starlings have blue bases to their beaks and girl starlings have pink ones, but doubtless those with more knowledge than me will put me right!