Friday, February 10, 2017


I heard them before I saw them.  Some kind of commotion was going on at my feeders and I came to the sliders to see just what was going on.

Ugh, I thought, when I saw that the new visitors to my feeders were Starlings.

The European Starling is actually a beautiful bird, striking with its purple and green iridescent plumage and its long, yellow pointed bill.

While Starlings dazzle with their appearance, they are more known for their boisterous, aggressive, even "piggy" behavior.  

They travel in large numbers and I could see them congregating en masse in the treetops at the edge of my yard.  They'd take turn fluttering down to my feeders.

They were a blur of wings as they jockeyed for position at my two feeders.

I felt sorry for my regulars, like this Finch, who hid in the nearby Rose of Sharon bush awaiting their turns.  The only time they had a chance to eat was when Gracie charged the Starlings at the window and scared them away from the feeders for brief time.  I don't think she liked their constant movement and chatter.

At the end of the day, they had completely cleaned out my feeders.  I waited a day to refill them, hoping to deter the Starlings from a repeat performance.

But while I was photographing the spectacle of Starlings, I caught sight of another bird feasting on leftover berries high in a nearby tree.  Its red-orange breast caught my attention.  Could it be?

Ah yes, it was a robin!  At first I thought it might be an early returner from winter migration, but then I read that there is a trend that more robins are sticking around in winter, or returning earlier, due to urban landscaping, warming winter temperatures, and reduced snow cover.  Regardless, the robin was a welcome sight in contrast to the Starling interlopers.


  1. I love the Starlings' winter plumage, but their "piggy" behavior certainly keeps other birds from the feeders. Great captures of your Starling invasion, Karen. I love the closeup in #2 down and the closeups of the Finch and Robin, too.

  2. Thanks, Jan. I think we share the same feelings about Starlings!