Mystery Bird #2 Identified

Every morning (and then again a few times later in the day) we are visited by a group of boisterous birds who come to eat figs from the trees in our yard.  The brown Turkey figs have been done for weeks now, but the white figs started to ripen in the last week or two, and these birds are having a field day!

They are dark and glossy – nearly black – and covered in what look like what spots all over – belly, wings, and back.  They are LOUD when they land to feed, but sometimes we’ve seen them perched in the tops of the trees when they must have had their fill, and they sing a short but lovely high-pitched sing-songy tune.

After looking through nearly every online bird identification site I could find and trying to pinpoint these birds by silhouette, bill shape and length, size, coloration, habitat, etc, (with no luck!)  I have finally found our bird by looking through every single bird listed as living in New York at

Welcome, European Starling!

If I’m right and they are starlings, then it sounds like we can expect them to lost their “spots” when they molt those feathers next spring and become sleek, glossy, iridescent black/purple/green.

According to,

“the “American Acclimatization Society” for European settlers introduced 60 European Starlings in New York City’s Central Park in 1890 and 40 more in 1891. The chief champion of these introductions was Eugene Scheiffelin, who desired to introduce all birds ever mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to the United States.”

Now it sounds like the birds have become invasive pests.  Hmm.  We still like their rambunctious show each morning.  There are worse things to wake up to (pumped up bass reggaeton blasting from a car….honking…someone’s cell phone conversation under your window…)  Let me tell you we don’t miss those things ONE BIT at our new place.  I will wake up to birds breakfasting on our figs any day!  Go starlings!


One thought on “Mystery Bird #2 Identified

  1. The antics of Starlings have cheered me on many a late winter day. In February, flocks of them descend upon my Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica), the tallest in the front yard. It is a legume, loaded with small ripened pods containing a nutritious little brown bean. Over the course of several days, the Starlings will strip the tree clean of pods, then work the ground below, finding fallen pods. I have a front row seat from the livingroom windows, nearly eye level with their frolicking. Starlings compete with flocks of Robins and sometimes Cedar Waxwings, moving back and forth between the American Holly for the softened red berries and the Pagoda tree for the bean pods. It is a sure sign that winter’s grip is about to release me to a much anticipated spring. I really look forward to seeing birds flock to the Pagoda.

    Another late winter event is Starlings discovering the large, deep basin of the heated birdbath, near the back patio door. They pile into it en masse, more than a dozen at once, jostling for position and splashing water all over. If I open the kitchen window to see better, they are scared off and fly away altogether in a single-minded swoop, but temporarily. They alight in a nearby tree, wait for the all clear, and return again.

    Occasionally Starlings nest inside my gutters, during a dry spell. A heavy rain will chase them off to seek a new spot. They are rather noisy and have a large repertoire of squeaks and squeals. It’s a reliable identifier.

    Congratulations for taking time to notice avian visitors to your little Eden. I am sure there will be more.

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