… and we’re back! I was able to get a bunch of to-do items checked off my list tonight and in celebration thought I’d crank out another post. Of course that will be short lived since this is core day and that self-imposed torture has a way of sucking all the joy out of you. Let’s stay in the moment and add another new bird to the North American Birding Life List. This particular bird is a surprise to me – based on how common these are … as in I see them EVERYWHERE I GO .. you would think they would already be checked off my list. Nope, much like that damn Crow this one has eluded my tin before now.
When it comes to colorful birds, the European Starling can hold its own – well, at least in the sunlight which is exactly the conditions I was able to shoot these specimens. Ron and I were once again out birding – this time walking around the grounds of Allerton Park in Monticello IL. If you are an Illini alumni, you know all about Allerton (unless you were spending too much time North of Green). For those not familiar with this place, liken it to a showplace for a rich individual that was slowly losing his mind. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful place, but to say there is a strange collection of art and statues would be like saying all clowns should simply be shot – grossly understated. Apparently the birds also enjoy this particular park based on the numerous +1’s we were able to add to the list that day. Now, most of those birds were a struggle to get in the tin while under the tree canopy, but these Starlings were practically posing for us. A regular old Zoolander!
Let’s see what Cornell has to say about these shimmering birds. Hmm, I had no idea they were brought here by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds. Apparently these enthusiasts wanted American to experience all the birds mentioned by Shakespeare. From the 100 they released in Central Park back in the 1890s we now have over 200 million of them from Alaska to Mexico. Thank you Shakespeare lovers for giving us a total pest! Did they not realize we LEFT Europe specifically to get AWAY from them! (note, my history may be a tad off but I blame my crappy early schooling). They are great vocal mimics able to copy up to 20 different species. Another thing I didn’t know is that Starlings wear molt – new feathers come in the fall with bold white on the tips. This wears out over the year giving more visibility to the iridescent brown we see the rest of the year.
Also looks like they fall into the aggressive category – funny, I can usually tell that by which birds literally attack my brother (seriously!). Oh well, post time is up and I need to get to planking. I realize these birds are as pesky as they get and it doesn’t help they travel in hordes. Oh well, still get to check another species off the list.