Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow Update and Mystery Birds

Seems like we are indeed getting some of the forecasted snow. It started coming down around dawn this morning and we have a couple of inches now with more still falling. It is so beautiful out there. Can't help it, I really love snow and I'm so happy to be experiencing a winter season where we actually get to see snow falling on a regular basis.

I need some help from you bird experts out there. We've had a small flock of black birds hanging around for about a week now and I have no idea what they are.

I'm almost embarrassed to post these two pictures but they were the best I could get. The birds are very flighty and shy; they scatter whenever I get near a window or door.

There seem to be 6-8 of them and they are a smidge smaller and more streamlined than a robin. Basically black with gray/tan(?) speckles on shoulders, wings, and back. They have a square tail and a very long light colored, pointy beak. I've seen them eating seeds on the ground but they attack the suet feeders with a frenzy. Lots of wing fluttering and squabbling when one is on a feeder and another customer comes by. They are able to get big chunks of suet out of the feeders and gobble it down.

I don't think we've ever seen ones like this before and am really curious as to what they might be.

Addendum: Now I'm thinking European Starlings?


  1. Aye, starlings, I'd say-- especially with that sort of beak. Horrid squabbly aggressive birds, but admittedly pretty-- in bright sunlight, their shoulders and heads sometimes shimmer with hints of green and violet. Still, they're a non-native scourge of the skies and terribly upsetting to the balance of the native species they displace. Shame on the Shakespeare enthusiast who imported the first pair!

  2. MaineCelt - Damn, I was afraid of that. Wonder why they chose to curse us with their presence all of a sudden? Can't believe how they're depleting my supplies of suet. Hmmm, would be a shame if something baaaad mysteriously happened to them . . .

  3. They do sound like Starlings, noisy, messy, greedy birds. We used to get plagues of them at our last house, I am keeping my fingers crossed that they don't find us here. I love birds and bird watching but I could live without Starlings.

  4. Hi, Heidi - Thanks for commenting on my blog. Besides appearing to be such piggy eaters, it seems like the starlings are keeping our other birds away. Rats. I can only hope they're just passing through.

  5. yes, Mama Pea, those are European Starlings (sigh). Tied with the House Sparrow as my LEAST favorite bird. They adore anything with peanuts. Starling activity in my yard was greatly decreased by restricting their access to any suet with peanuts or peanut butter in it.

  6. Ruthie - We were gone all day yesterday so I don't know what the bird activity was then but the starlings are no where to be seen today. Maybe they froze. ('Bout 0degrees with a wind blowing this morning . . . br-r-r-r.) We can only hope!