Sunday, January 5, 2014

Beautiful Starlings??

On Friday, with a fresh (thick) layer of snow on the ground and the wind howling, a flock of nearly 100 European Starlings blew into our yard and set to work clearing out the last of the Red Cedar cones in our trees (a bunch of American Robins helped out, too):

And as I looked at these raucous (invasive) birds eating all the food I'd rather save for the little Yellow-rumped Warbler who's been hanging around (and others), my world turned upside down a little, because these birds were beautiful. How is this a starling?

I've had mini-epiphanies about starlings before, but something about the light and these birds' fresh feathers must have made for some sort of ideal combination, because I couldn't stop looking at these birds. Seriously, how amazing are these feathers?

Awesome patterns from every angle:

And of course there was THIS guy, fancier with purple/blue/green iridescence even than the other starlings in the flock:

What's going on??

Wow, I'm actually feeling a bit of sensory overload looking at these birds. Here's a classically handsome robin from the same photo-shoot as a palate cleanser:

Ah, that's better. Lovely robin on a windy day:

In reading some more about starlings, I've learned that they keep these feathers into the summer, but the white tips wear down so that these birds end up with the plain glossy black outfits that I'm more used to seeing. So that's pretty cool.

Well, I've definitely gained a new appreciation for starlings. I still wish they hadn't eaten all the Red Cedar cones, but yes, I'll now admit that they are very pretty birds.


  1. Great shots. Taken with the new lens?

    1. Thanks! Yes, this is the new lens at work. I'm definitely impressed with its quality even through window glass and with lots of wind!

  2. Yes, there's really lots to love about Starlings, including their smarts and their sociability. It's not their fault they were introduced to North America and became invasive. Lovely photos!.

  3. Couldn't figure out what was at the water this morning - thanks for this! I didn't know starlings had a winter coat :)