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Spotty, Stripy, Rainbow Birds

What a spikey beard. And such respectable spots. And stylish stripes. I love a black rainbow. Starlings are mimics. They don’t have their own song, but I recognize their voice because when I was 17 I raised one as a…. What do you call a Starling fledgling? A Starlingling? She had fallen out of her nest. (Perhaps she was kicked out by a parasitic Cowbird) She didn’t even have feathers yet! The local wild bird care center wouldn’t take her but instructed me on how to take care of her. Wow. It’s trippy being a bird mom! I fed her scrambled eggs constantly which involved pushing food into her crop with my baby finger. She looked at me like she expected me to teach her to be a bird. Starlings copy the songs they hear so Star and I would sing together and she would repeat the rhythms I’d make.

I wonder how I knew she was a Starlingling when I was 17. Before there was anything on the Internet. Bald babies are pretty hard to identify.

Now that I’m a naturalist I know that Starlings are an ‘invasive species’. They were introduced to Central Park because it would be cool if Central Park had all the birds mentioned in Shakespearian plays. The Starlings did very well and have spread all over the continent. It turns out that wild bird care centers are not allowed to care for them! Even if they are fatherless babies who have fallen out of a nest, hungry and looking for someone to teach them to be a bird!

I think they are beautiful. Look that those spots! Those Stripes! Those Rainbows! Have you ever seen a murmuration? When a large flock of birds fly in a formation that makes a twisted undulating shape of emergent motion? They were probably Starlings. 

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