Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The wind chimes swing lazily after two days of incessant wind. I spied some forsythia in bloom down by the river, but ours are not out yet. Today is the kind of grey day against which their yellow would be so vivid and cheering.

Starlings have been nesting for the past several years in a hole in the corner of my neighbor's eaves. It appears that several adult birds take care of it, more than a pair. I have not confirmed this. There's intense activity in the nest right now—chatter, comings and goings, bird droppings piling up on the ledge beneath.

The other day I was standing in the doorway to the back porch and three of the cats came rushing past me; one had a big speckled starling in his mouth. The bird looked stiff and dead. The cat pushed on the inside door, wanting to bring the bird into the house. I said, "No!" He dropped the bird and it burst into life, flying out the porch door and up into the maple before any of us could blink. It seemed unharmed, but if a bird's skin is punctured by cat teeth, it will die of infection. Days after the porch incident, all seems well with the nest. Don't know about the bird.

A few years back I got into trying to rescue birds and bring them to a bird rehabilitator who lived a ways away. Each time I brought her a bird she would excoriate me for letting the cats be outside cats. Once I brought her a large fledgling I hadn't been able to identify. She looked at it and said, "Oh, it's just a starling."

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