Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Winter Starling Roost is Near our Neighborhood

I pulled into the driveway at home this evening to quite an impressive sight. A huge, ABSOLUTELY HUGE flock of starlings was swarming around the neighborhood in great clouds. This happens every now and then because our neighborhood is about a mile from a massive winter starling roost. In the evening, the birds all gather in the huge trees just off the field between Rt. 741 and Courseview. The noise is incredible and the sight is magnificent (whether you like Starlings or not, the sheer energy of all those birds is extraordinary). About two weeks ago, as Matty and I pulled into our driveway, the center of a massive flock seemed to move around us. Waves and waves of dark feathers and bird bodies swooped back and forth in constant motion, alighting for a second in trees or bushes or roofs and then bursting back up. We just sat there and watched them in awe. It lasted about 2 or 3 minutes before the swarm started moving down the street. It’s a great memory neither of us will forget.

A small part of the flock used my
neighbor’s roof as a temporary roost.

Why don’t they flock like this in the spring or summer? Starlings still flock then, but their numbers are lower. The smallest flocks are in the spring during the breeding season, and the largest in the winter when the flock takes in migrants from the north. Here is a helpful article on roosting and starling behavior.


Diane said...

Starlings have received a bad rap - that's true. Their determination and committment to their goals for shelter and eating are pretty spectacular as are some othe colors when seen in the sunlight - some kind of reflective abilities from their dark feathers.

Kelly said...

...true. I've read a lot of proponents say the same thing. It's that nasty habit of inflicting damage to crops and killing off our native cavity nesters that always comes back to haunt them. They have interesting calls too.