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My Babies

Back in June, I had two baby starlings cuddling in a space right next to my front porch for a week or so. The first entry is June 9th and the last one is June 17th. I did take pictures. I finally got them out of the camera this weekend.

Baby starlings Baby starlings

One of the baby starlings by my porch. Actually it seems to be sitting on its sibling. (June 2005)



That roll of pics also included one of ma starling, and then three pics from the trip Wolf and I took to Harsen Island on the Fourth of July: one of an obliging female red-winged blackbird and two of a swan family feeding in a canal near the road. They're in the nature gallery too.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
mysannthropy
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
damn you sure are good with a camera.

you would love it, my cockatiels have 3 eggs that will begin to hatch any day now. ill have pics coming, but man are they yucky lookin when they have no feathers!

its so cool to have birds chillin like that on your own property huh?
songdogmi
Aug. 2nd, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is. And I heard more of them squawking this morning (what would this be, starling batch three for the summer, maybe?). Ah, the miracle of life....

Thanks for the camera compliments. :)
altivo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC)
Oooh, ick. Starlings! Where's that cat? Kitty, kitty, kitty...
songdogmi
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
/* gets broom to shoo away mean kitty and mean horsie */
altivo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
/* eats the straw out of said broom...tasty, nice crunch */
altivo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Seriously, starlings are not nice. They are non-native and compete all too effectively with our native songbird species. If you can't bring yourself to destroy the living birds, what you can do is find where they are nesting and block their access to it so they don't produce any more broods there. They tend to go for ledges under eaves, garage lofts, etc. rather than trees and shrubbery. Like pigeons, their population can be reduced by keeping them out of their preferred nesting zones. And it's better for your property too. They are horribly messy things.
songdogmi
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
All that is true. The problem I had this year was that starlings had found a way into a corner of my attic. That's when I booked the roofing job. (Which is done, to about 98% satisfaction, and if I wasn't going spastic with this %&*#$&% book at work, I'd be making phone calls.) About three weeks before the roofing job, something happened to the nest and there were babies on the ground. And when they're young and vulnerable... well I'm a big softie. But the problem should not repeat itself since the roof and gutters are done (although I do need to do some repairs to the garage, or else they'll move in there next).

Besides, it's an urban neighborhood and we're not getting much in the way of native songbirds anyway. Robins and cardinals don't seem to be suffering this year, and it's been years since anything in that competition group (so to speak) else made southwest Warren its home.

Now it's been what, 125 years since starlings were introduced... that barn door is open and the horse is gone, so to speak. Reducing their spread would be a good thing, but it's a lost cause in the city. Although a lot more peregrine falcons and Cooper's hawks would help, and they'd be fun to watch.
altivo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
No bluejays? When I lived in Dearborn Heights years ago, we rarely saw a starling, but there were plenty of bluejays and robins. Cardinals want fairly dense shrubbery, which we didn't have enough of at least at the time. We also had woodpeckers, the common flicker and the downy. Starlings will actually evict nesting woodpeckers from their cavity.

Yes, the starling problem is an old one, but they are so obnoxious that I'm willing to do my best to reduce their population. Here on the farm, starlings and house sparrows (also an introduced species) are big pests and even a health hazard at times. When feeling particularly uncharitable, we refer to them as flying rodents. We do have a couple of cats who think both species are palatable, but they rarely manage to catch one. The common grackle is another irritant, but at least they are native and tend to be migratory types that we see in numbers only when they are en route from one place to another.

I'd been meaning to ask how the roofing job went, glad to hear it finished up pretty well. Yep, patch up that garage if they can get in there, because they will. We finally had to remove the gutters from our horse barn because the starlings insisted on nesting inside the downspouts, in the sloping horizontal portions. We tried everything to keep them out but to no avail. They would block up the drainage, and then the gutters would overflow (back when there was rain, not an issue this year.) I don't know whether any nests full of baby birds were washed down the drain into the creek, but I admit I secretly hope they were.

Don't get me wrong, I like birds. We put out multiple feeders and watch and listen all year long. I've even been spotted wandering around with binoculars at times. But here in the midwest, starlings are interlopers.
songdogmi
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
There are birds, and there are birds. When I and my family started birding in the early 1970s, we went back and forth on whether to include rock doves, starlings, and house sparrows on our backyard bird lists (in that order, least defensible to most). Even now those three are in the lower level of my hierarchy of desirable birds. (I keep all three on the life list, but I do draw the line at zoo birds and pets, of course.)

There are some blue jays. There are a few woodpeckers, and I didn't know (or didn't remember) about the problems they have with starlings taking their nesting spots. There have been a lot of grackles this year. There are a lot of house finches these days; it was decades before I saw any, and now they're everywhere.

Out in the country, it's OK to me if the cats go after the birds, although I'd feel pretty bad if a cat actually got a pretty bird like an indigo bunting.



altivo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)
The buntings much prefer open spaces so they seldom come into our feeder area, which has a lot of cover. I agree, they might be at cat risk there, though most of the more desirable birds seem much more wary of cats (or anything that moves) than the sparrows and starlings are. We occasionally see a hawk swoop down and grab a small bird, but the victims are almost invariably sparrows (or juncos in winter.)

The cats leave heaps of feathers whenever they actually catch something. In six years, I've not found remains of cardinal or finch. Just sparrows and starlings. The starlings are also window-crashers. They bang into our plate glass windows more often than any of the others. If they fall unconscious to the ground beneath the window, one of our dogs may eat them, which is usually very unpleasant (she gets quite sick, but never learns not to repeat the act.)
songdogmi
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC)
/* looks at remains of broom, and wonders why he didn't buy the one with synthetic bristles instead */
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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