Friday, July 17, 2009
Starlings and Cherries
I've written a blog about a starling male that throws in various farm animal sounds when he's singing. He and his mate have a nest in the wall of my barn and they raise two broods each season, and they've done this for years. It amazes me when the male starling throws in the sounds of sheep, rooster, crickets, and even the meow of a cat to his melodic sounds for his admiring mate!
He and his mate have their second brood just about ready to "fly the coop". It's been a delight to hear their tiny nearly inaudible peeps after newly hatching, and hearing the peeps grow stonger everyday to where they become loud chirps. When my feet it the floorboards of the old barn, they hear it and chirp loudly thinking hungrily that a parent has landed with a morsel. Ever hungry and ever demanding, their parents tirelessly and with an amazing drive, bring their babies a variety of food. I can sit in the shade of a nearby oak and watch them fly in with a meal sometimes every few minutes.
They're well fed youngsters, and so quickly they grow. The parents catch all kinds of insects, and bring in a variety of seasonal fruit as well, a very well balanced meal. One day, while we were haying the pasture and moving in the bales into the barn, I watched the parents find and bring in cherry after cherry for their youngsters. I was even more amazed that the parents had partially mashed them prior to feeding, for easy eating and digestion, and I don't know for certain but I also think each one is "seeded".
The youngsters are nearly fledglings, thanks to their parents constant feeding and good care. Even with the truck backed up to the barn and me standing up on the top of the bales, they were steadfast and undaunted by me. Their babies need to be fed, and they were going to feed them regardless. They chirped loudly at us, with the intended meal in their beaks and sat on the eve watching, somewhat agitated... but after a while, continued their mission to feed the youngsters. It was certainly a sight, these pretty irridescent black little birds, carrying bright red cherries glowing in the afternoon sunlight. The marvels of nature...