A red-winged starling cools off in the bird bath

We had some hot days in February and March this year, and so I’ve been making sure that our various bird baths are always filled with clean water. I love watching the birds swooping down on our garden at various times of the day – it is one of the delights of working from home. Two years ago, I’d made a list of all the birds that regularly visited our garden – have a look here. One of the birds we – oddly – hadn’t noticed at the time were the red-winged starlings.

Mind you, they’re commonly regarded as pests, and I’d quite had my fill of them during my months of working at the University of Cape Town, where they sat on – erm, and shat on – every single window sill… – so I never developed much affection towards them.

I still have vivid memories of a certain incident involving a red-winged starling.

Some friends and I were sitting peacefully at the restaurant at Rhodes Memorial, looking out over the city of Cape Town. I was feeling quite content and happy with my lot, and munching my way through a warm muffin with butter, cheese, jam and cream, which I had just oh-so-carefully piled onto each half, when — wooosh! kerplunk! flatter-flapper-flutter!!– a red-winged starling literally dive-bombed my plate.

It crash-landed right on my masterpiece, picked up a huuuge chunk in its beak, launched itself back into the air, and landed on a nearby tree – where it proceeded to devour my muffin with carefree recklessness. Peck-peck-peck – and it was gone. Jam, cheese and cream included. All gone.

As you can imagine, we kinda lost our appetite. There was tea and coffee splashed everywhere, sticky crumbs all over the place, and the table cloth was spattered in jam and cream. If I recall correctly, it took me a number of years to get over this incident sufficiently to visit that particular restaurant again. And when we did, I made sure that I shielded my food with my entire body from the marauding scavengers of the sky!

As a result, it’s quite possible that I subconsciously blanked out their visits to our garden. Well, until I spotted one having a vigorous bath in our water fountain one sweltering afternoon.

As you can see, these birds do everything with great gusto – droplets were showering everywhere! It was just as well the fountain was switched on, with water bubbling down from the top of the cherub’s head, otherwise it would’ve been empty within a couple of minutes.

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18 thoughts on “A red-winged starling cools off in the bird bath

  1. Ha! I’ve had food stolen by a cheeky seagull before but that’s the first time I’ve heard of a starling being so bold. Naughty birdie. I like the way this one is enjoying his bath.

    • A cheeky seagull?! Now those are big birds – I certainly wouldn’t want a close encounter with a determined seagull! Yeh, this birdie was definitely having a whale of a time, trying to empty out the bird bath! πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m sorry, Reggie. I’m giggling. Trying to imagine what the scene with the scavenging thief of a bird must have felt like. Ha-ha, outright laughing now. I’m sure it wasn’t funny THEN, but it sure is a story you’ll tell for years and years and years, isn’t it? Isn’t it interesting that the stories we tell and re-tell are the absurd strange stories? The everyday stories we so often forget.

  3. Back again from 10 weeks of travel and adventure I started to resume my home activities, including visiting my favorite blogs!
    And – of course – organising and choosing some pictures from “Down under” for my own blog;-)
    Your lovely bird-shots here reminds me of spring – I hope it will soon be spring- and bird- season here πŸ™‚
    And I hope soon to get the time for surfing around your blog – looking for my favorite posts here – about your lovely country and all your trips and walks there!!!

    • Welcome back, Truels! Am so looking forward to seeing some of the pictures you took Down Under, and to reading all about your daring adventures. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you so much for popping in on my blog. πŸ™‚

      I wish you a delightful spring back home.

  4. Lol (with apologies) at the bird launching itself into your plate of food! Reminds me of when we were on holiday one year in North Wales (before we moved to Wales ourselves) and were parked on a cliff road overlooking the sea, and there were these magpies flying just outside the car window. I was eating a sandwich and had a banana with me, so I threw bits of the banana in the air for the birds and they caught them!

    I’ve a new blog, by the way, of my own nature photos, that you might like.

    • Like most such experiences, it was only funny in retrospect. πŸ˜‰ You’re lucky those magpies didn’t bombard the car in their determination to get at your sandwich!!

  5. You see REggie – this is EXACTLY one of the main reasons that we want our own house – and our own garden where we can have water features, feed the birds and watch from afar!

    Your story reminds me a little of another time I took my mum to the coast. We were eating fish and chips on the front – when down-swooped a seagull onto my mums tea!! Of course, her natural reaction was to shoo it away with her free hand – but accidentally she used the one holding the chips…so they ALL flew up in the air anyhow, chips landing all over – much tote delight of the rest of the seagull gang!

    Hope you’re well – Ax

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