European Starlings: Messy Eaters!

European Starling
European Starling

Most of the year, European Starlings don’t spend a lot of time in our yard, but when it gets cold and snowy, the big mixed flocks are more likely to descend on the feeders: European Starlings, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Common Grackles arrive in large groups that displace our regular birds. I’m okay with a few random Red-Winged Blackbirds and even the occasional Common Grackle, but European Starlings do not fill me with joy. Even a few of them can be a disruptive addition to the yard. They hog the feeders, blocking other birds from the food, eat more than their share, and make a mess!

This week, with both snow and cold in the area, the starlings have unfortunately arrived. I deter the big flocks just by walking outside and standing there for a couple minutes, but there are a handful of tenacious starlings that have been hanging around lately and I swear, they are the messiest eaters out there! Their sloppy eating habits are wasting a lot of seed and keeping other birds from the feeders, so something needs to be done.

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Fifty-Six Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings at A Bird Bath
Cedar Waxwings at Front Bird Bath

Usually I’m not too thrilled when huge flocks of birds descend on the yard, displacing our “regulars” from the feeders and birdbaths. But I must admit that when fifty-six (at least!) Cedar Waxwings visited this past weekend, I was happily excited. Unlike the big flocks of Common Grackles, European Starlings and Brown-Headed Cowbirds, this crowd was not aggressive towards the other birds and didn’t displace them. They didn’t want anything from the feeders after all. They didn’t mess with the other birds and the other birds didn’t mess with them. They were just there to drink.

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Birds in the Storm

Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal
Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal

The most active and interesting days are often not the bright beautiful sunny days but the stormy days when birds are eager to eat as much as they can to keep energy levels high. Yesterday’s storm brought us just such a day with really interesting feathered visitors and activity, so I have pictures and stories to share with you.

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