Tuesday 25 May 2010

ABC Wednesday – S is for Starlings

Did you know that the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is in decline? Though it is still a very common garden bird, particularly in the south of England, globally it is threatened and the RSPB has designated it a Red List species. Red is the highest conservation priority, needing urgent action.
These are noisy, gregarious birds and in May, when numbers have been swelled with hungry youngsters, our garden echoes to the prattling, screeching squadrons of starlings that flock in by the dozens to feed.
One year we saw a pure white starling. We only saw her once – for some reason we felt she was a female – and I suppose she was doomed from the moment she put on her unusual apparel.
Starlings are marvellous photographic subjects as they argue and manoeuvre to appropriate the best position on the feeders. The following are some photographs Barry took this week. For those not fluent in Starlingese – or is it Starlingish? – I have provided translations. The language, after all, is in the movement.
Left-hand starling (Lhs): Come on if you think you're hard enough!
Right-hand starling (Rhs): Hey! I'm just stretching my wings - calm down.
Lower starling (Ls): I thought this was a quiet neighbourhood.
Lhs: That's better - get them down!
Rhs: Okay   - they're down now. Happy?
 Ls: Just stop the gabbing and eat, why don'tcha?
Lhs: Have you seen that thieving magpie today?
Rhs: I saw him over there just now . . .
Ls: I'll fill my boots while I can!
Lhs: Have you ever seen anything like that? Oink, oink!!
Rhs: Yeah, leave some for us!!
Lhs: Don't look now but Show-off's on the way!
Rhs: Yeah, I can see him out of the corner of my eye.
Show-off: Mee-ee-ee-owww . . . Hi guys, did you miss me? 
Mumbles from the rest: Yeah, like a pain in the butt . . .
Show-off: Aww, I know you love me really!
The onlookers say: We'd love you a lot more if you stopped treading on us.
Lhs: Ouch! Get off my knee!
Rhs: I don't need your foot on my neck to find the food . . . so get OFF!
Show-off: Hey, just call me Isaac . . . (quotes) 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' (Sir Isaac Newton 1642 - 1727)
Thank you to the tireless ABC Wednesday team for organising and hosting this weekly meme. Click here to see more Ss!


  1. No, I didn't know starlings are in decline. Although come to think of it, we don't have as many in our yard as we used to!

  2. Wow! They are really doing an exhibition! Just like those cheerleaders!

    Beauty series of photos!

  3. Wow, well done in speaking starlingese! And the shots were brilliant as well.

  4. Wow, great close-ups that tell a story.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. Love the story behind these wonderful shots! You made my day!

  6. Beautiful shots of birds. It is a sad that their numbers are declining.

  7. What a great post for the day and I love the dialogue! Sorry they are declining, it's sad that that is happening to a number of species. Your photos are fantastic! Enjoy the rest of your week!


  8. Beautiful shots. I love the first one with light shining through the wings. And the one where the bird is standing on the other birds shoulders is just plain cute and funny. Great shots.

    On behalf of the ABC Wed., thanks for paticipating.

  9. What wonderful shots and beautiful birds!!

    S is for street and...

  10. Love those starlings, the first photo is wonderful. You are exceedingly fluent in Starlinglish. The numbers do seem to have crashed. They still seem to roost in the same places here but in nowhere near the amount I remember years ago.

  11. Spectacular shots of these starlings. Sorry to hear they are in decline.

  12. Funnt shots of the starlings. The juvies are actually cute. great photos!


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