European Starlings – Weekend Favorite

If you don’t count the early morning fog and mist the weather cooperated to some extent this past weekend. I had several favorites but I don’t know if I can call any of them highlights. So I’ll go with my favorite being the flock of European Starlings I watched Sunday.

I know, how can I call the starling a favorite? Most people, and even most birders including myself, take a look at starlings and move on. But I got caught up watching them Sunday which extended my stay at the local park by almost an hour.

A few starlings had been calling off and on for the first two hours I birded the park. Then all of a sudden there were hundreds calling on the other side of the tree line which made listening for passerines tough.

I took one more walk to the other side of the tree line still not paying attention to the starlings when all of a sudden they all went up at once. 

I had no idea that there were this many starlings a few hundred feet away!

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The European Starlings make their way to the nearby trees. Franklin Township Community Park 10/2/16
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All of the starlings made it successful to the trees. Franklin Township Community Park 10/2/16

How do I know the starlings made it successfully to the trees. Because the instigator came up empty.

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I never saw the Red-tailed Hawk until all of a sudden it was on a nearby backstop. It must have come in low and fast avoiding detection. Franklin Township Community Park 10/2/16

I watched this scenario play out several times. The starlings would leave the trees, go back to feed, and the hawk would try again.

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Up we go again. The hawk would try for a starling, they would go up and land and the whole scene would repeat. Franklin Township Community Park 10/2/16

Now there were a couple of things that made this the weekend favorite.

  1. I have seen large flocks of starlings go up and down many times in my life. But I don’t ever remember being right in the middle of the action. I stood in the middle of the path from the trees and their feeding area.
  2. Watching a hundred European Starlings bath at the same time. (Sorry about the fence) Since all browsers don’t support the same video this might not work on Internet Explorer.

The amount of spray they put up was amazing. Even more than the Laughing Gull feeding frenzy in Alabama.

That’s was why I picked the European Starlings. There is always an adventure or story out there if you don’t get in a hurry. It usually comes to you.

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