Monday 31 May 2010

Spatially immature!

At this time of year young starlings scream around our garden feeders, arguing with each other, practising aerobatics and gymnastic pyramids. They boldly face up to wood pigeons and woodpeckers and overwhelm blackbirds, thrushes, robins, nuthatches and all the small titmice. At an unseen signal – or maybe an alarm – they take off in a great cloud and fly over the house to a safe vantage point. That is to say, most of them do. In their haste, or panic, to leave the site, some of them crash into the windows. This is not because our windows are sparklingly clean like the purest of spring water – far from it, they are smeary and nose-smudged and licked (by the dogs, I hasten to add!) Even when I have just cleaned them they only just allow clear vision so I cannot believe that the youngsters don't see them – they simply have poorly-developed spatial skills (a little like me, in fact!)
Most days there are thumps and thuds as unfortunate birds collide with unforgiving glass. Sometimes the impact is so noisy that we all jump and the dogs bark. Occasionally, thankfully rarely, the strike is fatal. Yesterday was a busy day for the young birds with a great deal of coming and going and several of them hit the windows. Some appeared to bounce off and continue their frantic flight but two of them, within a couple of hours, were knocked out.
The first one was thrown back from the patio door onto a net on a garden bench. She lay motionless for a minute or two but was still breathing. (I think it was a female since she had a hint of pink at the base of her beak and males have blue)
After a while she got rather groggily to her feet and a few minutes later flew off to join her friends and family.
A little later one of her male relations hit the glass and landed on his back on the patio.

We feared that this one might not survive but these birds are fighters and he was soon on his feet, though looking a little glassy-eyed.
We watched him carefully and he seemed to be recovering.  Gus was agitating to go out so Barry decided to move the little bird to a safer location - as he approached the starling flapped his wings and flew away.There haven't been any collisions today.


  1. Starlings are such entertaining little birds. I am glad these two survived! We have a few around our garden but not as many as this.

  2. It's so sad when birds hit the glass. I guess most of them must survive, at least I'd like to think so.

  3. Poor birds! So glad they survived. They are just adorable.

  4. I swear your starlings are a lot prettier than the ones we have in Chicago. We're not too thrilled with them.


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