Spectacular Starlings


In 1890 and 1891, about 100 European starlings were released into Central Park, in New York City. Beloved in Europe, they quickly became pests in North America. These aggressive birds often congregate in large flocks that can take over a feeder, leaving a mess behind. They evict native woodpeckers and bluebirds from their nests in trees trunks and take them for their own.

I could never figure out what Europeans loved about them. The birds I’ve seen  are a drab brown with speckles — nothing special.

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This bird’s wing and tail feathers are outlined with bronze.

Until this lone starling came to our feeder this month.

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Its back feathers are iridescent green flecked with gold.

Unfortunately, the low light and the bird’s constant movement made it hard for me to catch the brilliance of this starling’s colors while keeping the bird in focus.

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The starling’s colors all came out when it perched in the sun for a moment.

Starlings are still hard on native tree-nesting birds. But I can finally understand why Europeans love them.

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