The antics of Starlings in our gardens

Hi there

I have to admit that I do love our Starlings even although they are brisk with their comings and goings in our gardens

They have their own little comical ways of entertaining us when it comes to feeding from our bird feeders.

Antics include throwing their food about in the air - Cheerio Cereal is ideal for some loop-de-loop with the beak.

A good peck at other birds such as Blackbirds so they can move in on the foodstuffs with minumum effort.

A great love of Tesco's Scones which they adore, and hoover up in front of your eyes, Place one out, and see it go in minutes.

Total confidence with sitting in a cramped Window Feeder while having its fill without feeling stressed at all

How many Starling can you get on one feeder a lot by all accounts as I have seen the live action  shots (wish I had a photo or two to share)  - 10 on my large feeder so far all fighting with one another for their feeding patch - Sharing is not a Starling thing - they like to hold their own.

Now how you not stop in your tracks to listen to a Starling sitting on a TV Ariel wildly singing with their madcap songs.

So many little quirks to be noticed in one day. Of course not to mention their stunning plumage.

What have you noticed about our Feathered Starling friends

Regards

Kathy and Dave

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I know what you mean Blackbird, I think they are beautiful birds, full of character, beautiful glossy coloured plumage when you look close. I think they get a bad press but it's just their nature. I rescued one in the spring this year it had been caught by a cat I think, I took it in & kept it warm & well fed, it couldn't fly. It did well for a few days but took a turn for the worst. He was a feisty little young one, I was sad to have failed him.

     I love it when they get a big lump of fat ball out of the cagefeeder & run off with that funny run they do, looking really please with themselves.

    I went to Tesco yesterday, forgot to get those scones you had mentioned, will go again on Sunday.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Excellent thread Blackbird.

    I love my starlings and can only echo what you and Birdmum have said. Through binoculars they have stunning plumage, and look so funny when they fluff their heads, like they are wearing woolly hats. They use my hanging feeders all the time, and I have had as many as 10 on one hanging feeder. If only they would learn to share I'm sure they would get more food. As it is, most of it ends up on the floor. They do love the fat food, and as Birdmum said, if they manage to get a large chunk they run off with it to eat it in private. They are surprising agile and can cling with the best of the sparrows and tits. And bath time is hilarious! Watch out all other birds - the bath needs refilling when they have finished.

    I had a pair this spring with a juvenile. The baby sat ontop of the bird table whilst the parents grabbed as many dried mealworms as they could hold in their beaks - more than 10 at a time - then fed the baby. I was sitting out in my chair, watching, not 4 feet away. Sadly, my camera was indoors, as is usually the case. It was the first time I had seen a bird being fed as I had only just started feeding my garden birds, and I was stunned into silence with my mouth wide open - good job the parents didn't shove mealworms down my throat!!!

    Currently I have one who is visiting every day. He has a broken foot, which is limp and dangles downwards whilst he stands on his good leg. He manages fine, and if he is perched on the edge of the mesh tray attached to a fence, he uses a wing to help him balance. He then stands in the tray, which is flat so he is able to balance OK, and fills his tummy. It takes him longer that normal, so is there in the tray for over half an hour sometimes, eating, resting, eating, resting. He can fly without problem, but his landings are a bit precarious. I can't get near him, and don't want to disturb him eating, and I know there is nothing I can do for him. But as he is eating and can fly, and has been coming for several days, I am hoping he will be OK and maybe his foot will recover on its own. I do hope so. Any suggestions?

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    hi there

    Another view of my pictures of the Starlings in my patch recently, and these ones do not have broken legs {smile}

    Just to remind us how beautiful and comical that they are.

    I never tire of them at all and I am pleased to have them in my garden.

    Love to hear any more stories form people about Starlings

    (Note: I have posted these pictures in another wildlife forum gallery I am a member of)

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Blackbird - beautiful photos. You have captured them brilliantly, singing away - or is one of them asleep? They look very contented.

    I only have one half decent photo (by my standards!), taken just before Christmas in our front garden

     

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Sparrow:

    Some more pictures of our delightful Sparrows for everyone to see.

    The branches are in the way in this batch of pictures, (need photoshop to sort this problem out and all in good time too {smile}) but it just shows how intriging our little friend are.  This is even if they like to play peek-a-boo behind the branches, and trunks of trees.

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Lovely photos Blackbird and I love hearing about their antics.

    Sparrow I also love your snowy one - shame about the starling with broken foot but happy he seems to be coping.

    We get quite few in our garden. I love watching them bathe in the birdbath, they make such a noise and soak the rest of the birds who are lined up waiting for their turn - very funny characters

    Regards

    Kerry

     http://www.flickr.com/photos/kezmo6310/

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Kezmo:

    Thank you Kezmo for your kind comments about my pictures.

    Yes, Starlings love a communal bath any day - they like to stick together as a group.  share and share alike comes to mind,

    Just sitting indoors, and watching Starlings at a Bird Feeder is very entertaining indeed,

    I have to admit Starlings have grown on me a lot in the past year or so.

    It is great to see them around now, and the birds will only increase, then decrease once more over the next year once more.

    Love a little flock in the back garden

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

    Kezmo said:

    Lovely photos Blackbird and I love hearing about their antics.

    Sparrow I also love your snowy one - shame about the starling with broken foot but happy he seems to be coping.

    We get quite few in our garden. I love watching them bathe in the birdbath, they make such a noise and soak the rest of the birds who are lined up waiting for their turn - very funny characters

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Blackbird, some more lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.

    My little starling with the broken leg/foot was here again today, still feeding and still flying. I hope he isn't hurting. I feel so inadequate because I can't do anything to help, other than make sure he has plenty of good quality food to keep him going.

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Lovely photo's Blackbird & Sparrow, you must have very good cameras / lenses to take those pics.

    Sorry to hear of your injured starling Sparrow. Hopefully he will be ok, I had a woodpigeon with that foot problem for quite a long time.

    We had a young fledgling starling once that was a little clingy with his Mum, Mum left him on the old birdtable & must've told him she'd be back soon as a trick to escape. He waited on there all day calling for her. He stayed permanently in our garden & neighbours garden for months. He tried to make friends with every bird coming. We called him Billy (no mates). He stayed all winter but finally found some starling friends and left in Spring. I hope he went on to live a normal starling life.  

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Hi Blackbird.

    What a fantastic thread and thanks very much for starting this topic.  Brilliant photos.  :-)

    To put it simply, starlings are one of my main reasons for joining the RSPB.  When I first looked on the RSPB website a couple of years or so ago, I couldn't believe that something we all tended to take for granted was in such serious decline.  To be honest I don't think town or city centres have the same character without starlings.  Even the small group that roosts under the bridge at the Cumbernauld town centre bus stop, offers great entertainment whenever I find myself there in the winter months.

    I live roughly halfway between Glasgow and Cumbernauld and am quite lucky to have fairly good numbers of these fantastically entertaining little birds.  Whenever anyone enters my local area there's a good chance they'll be greeted by some starlings, open-beak probing, singing, frolacking, confidently walking, and all the great ways they entertain us.

    From a personal garden point of view, starlings are the birds that I feel encouraged many of the other species to feed in the garden.  I feel in a funny sort of way that the starlings are partly responsible for species such as great spotted woodpecker, siskin, and goldfinch.

    It's wonderful watching them feed and a gaurnteed wildlife spactacle every morning as the food is put out they line up on overhead phone wires, shrubs, trees, washing lines.  Then the feeding frenzy begins.  Absolutely wonderful entertainmet, and I'm fairly certain I've managed to count between 30 and 40 in my own and neighbouring gardens.  Love the imperssonations and the little musical solos they do.  There's one of my "local" starlings does a fantastic swallow impression.

    They are fanastically colourful birds at close viewing and seem to look their best in sunshine after bathing (great fun) or a rain shower.  They do eat lots of food and are hillarious rumaging through the bird table and ground tables, searching for their favourite morsels, fatty foods are much loved by starlings, and of course they adore fruit.  I remember during the 2008 breeding season, I was able to afford some live mealworms, which the starlings loved to bits.  Seeing them bring their fledgelings to the garden a few weeks later was a wonderful experience.

    Sorry for rambling on a bit much but the starling is a wonderfully adaptable wee bird and full of great character, and stunning plumage.  They are guarnteed to provide lots of entertainment whether in town or countryside.


    Paul.

    Warning!  This post contains atrocious spelling, and terrible grammar.  Approach with extreme edginess.