Introducing the European Starling, brought over from somewhere in Europe in 1890. Of course, these birds had the usual destructive effect that inevitably accompany introduced species. By now, they are well and truly established pretty much everywhere in North America. We had millions of them when I lived in Jerusalem.

Look at the colors in their feathers. They gleam in the sun

I tried to catch the glittering, but I think you need the sun

The thing is, I had never really gotten close enough to realize what beautiful birds they are — which is probably why they were imported in the first place.

Categories: birds, Birds, Gallery, Photography, Wildlife

Tags: , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. They are glorious birds in the sunshine, numbers here have fallen dramatically in recent years so maybe you can send them back!


    • We don’t have the millions we had a few years ago here. We’ve lost billions of birds to habitat destruction.

      In Israel, they kept moving that huge flock around until finally, they developed a sound system that told the birds danger was coming. The flock fled to the Jerusalem forest, which improved everyone’s attitude.

      They used to nest in the trees surrounding Sha’ar Ha Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. There was always a great parking space right in front of the hospital and I never understood why until one day I parked there. Never did THAT again.

      They moved the birds away from the hospital, but they next took up residence in a nice mixed (mixed as in both religious and non-religious inhabitants) neighborhood and did some terrible things to laundry hanging outside to dry, With all that natural heat and sun, dryers were used only during rainy months.

      After that, they consulted international “bird movers” like Cornell and others to develop a noise that would alarm them and convince them to move to a less urban area. It worked. My good friend Greer stopped making hysterical phone calls to me that “THE BIRDS HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!” and we only saw the starlings when they were mobbed into millions wheeling in the sky.

      All birds — even “imports” — have been reduced enormously because of habitat changes. Woods have become housing tracts and malls globally. We have lost billions of birds and will keep losing them. The fragile ones who need a special kind of nesting site or very specific diets (woodpeckers, for example, Robins, Bluebirds, Indigo Bunting) disappear first. Starlings like to nest in enclosures. Bird Houses, but also tiny caves, barn and house eaves, and hollow trees. So do other birds, especially bluebirds who are much smaller, more fragile and can’t fend off determined starlings. Now that nesting sites have become rare, ALL those types of birds are in trouble or more to the point, even MORE trouble.

      A double irony, isn’t it? I feed them and I will put together some bird houses and put them nearby on trees. But I’m just one person. We would need an army of people dedicated to saving their feathery lives as their natural habitat gets smaller and live food vanishes.

      Right now I can hear them singing. We must have a dozen different species out back and the tiny little chipmunks have come home today. It’s a beautiful day, but the fire danger flags are up everywhere. Warnings are up all over the northeast to NOT BURN ANYTHING OUTSIDE. We are officially in drought, at what used to be our rainiest season. We’ve been in drought for more than a decade. The entire continent has been in drought, flood, or fire — and often all three.

      Good thing there’s no such thing as climate change!


      • oh crikey that’s early for the fire signs, it is only just April! You should still have snow melting

        and you are so right about the birds, we need everyone to be creating wildlife friendly gardens and to stop building – unfortunately however I don’t think enough of us are going to care before it is too late 😦

        absolutely fascinating to learn about your starling tales


        • It IS early. It is the earliest those signs have ever been posted and they aren’t in one state — they are in the entire region. My guess is that the entire west and southwest is permanently on fire alarm watch. Spring has always been rainy. We counted on it to help bring in crops. Now, there are — other than orchards and small produce gardens — no more farms. The land is there, but the farmers gave up.


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Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge



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