Backyard birds, March 23 2014

7

by Brent Eades

So it’s spring, 15 cm of snow yesterday notwithstanding. I’ve had one new spring bird since my last post, a Grackle who showed up briefly this morning. Before then I mostly had Blue Jays, Cardinals, Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches, Purple Finches, Mourning Doves and a few Juncos.

Also European Starlings. Lots and lots of them. This pesky bird is certainly attractive to look at, with its iridescent markings and sleek lines, but it can also be a noisy bully who scares off smaller species. Non-native to North America, its history here is odd, as explained by the Cornell University ornithology site:

All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned. It took several tries, but eventually the population took off. Today, more than 200 million European Starlings range from Alaska to Mexico.

Also, a reminder that the Lanark Bird Spot Facebook group is always happy to have new members. Check us out.

Some photos (click for large versions):

Female Purple Finch
Female Purple Finch
Male Purple Finch
Male Purple Finch
European Starling
European Starling
Seeds fly after a Starling scrap
Seeds fly after a Starling scrap
Dark-Eyed Junco
Dark-Eyed Junco
American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Grackle
Grackle