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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: More Info re Starlings

The two photos atop this entry features European starlings spending time in my urban garden. In the first one, a starling is alighting upon the branches of my kiwi vines; which, as you may recall, are a flora type that inspired my first garden themed movie, The Kiwi Speaks! Fifteen Minutes of Fame...almost; which can be within my Vimeo channel, by clicking here. In the second one, starlings are having a heated discussion at one of my bird feeders. Both of these photographs were taken in bygone years. As you may know, this bird type has been the subject of a number of my entries within my cyber-venues, and, my post recent post regarding them was published here on Blogger nearly two weeks ago (March 23rd 2017).

In any event, the European starlings who visited my rooftop garden yesterday, and who can be seen doing so, in the following pictures,

are the inspiration for this blog posting. The images directly above, features a shameless male starling checking out (if not leering at ) a female starling as a possible mate. The female pictured here seems a little uncomfortable (as evidenced by the way she is holding herself) at being scrutinized.

You may be wondering, dear reader, how I know the gender of these birds, especially since they are almost identical. The fact is the way European starlings are constructed, makes it easy to determine their gender! According to many sources, in the breeding season, adults have yellow bills with different colour bases depending on their sex; in males this is blue, and in females pink. This can be seen in the pictures that I've been referencing.

The following photos feature solo photo-ops of female (four images) and male starlings (two images) respectively; and you will notice the tip of their bill in each picture.

The picture directly above features another cool fact about this bird type: "While starlings appear black at a distance, close up they have glossy green and purple iridescent plumage." I have photos that show these characteristics of the European starling and they can be seen directly below:

All of five of the photos (featuring the coloring of starlings) shown in this last series, were taken in my garden last year. And with this info re starlings I'll conclude my post, but not before sharing what Mary Oliver had to say about them in her poem, Starlings in Winter.

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

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