Now when the sun has started climbing higher in the sky and spring not so very far away, the Starlings have begun to sing and their plumage is becoming more colourful.
Although February has just started and temperatures below zero every day, they have begun to claim territories with their song. This Starling male has great expectations for this spring and has started to defend part of the garden as his own. His task is a difficult one as there are flocks of 20-30 Starlings here every day in the feeding trays. But he doesn’t give up.
July and August are usually the most peaceful months in the garden, meaning that there are not as many birds as in the winter months. We have continued putting out sunflower seed all summer so of course some birds come by regularly. Redwings, Blackbirds and Redpolls nested in our garden and in neighbouring gardens this summer. Most of these birds finished breeding in the end June except the Blackbird that breeds several times during the summer. According to our observations it is now breeding for the fifth time.
With the coming of autumn more and more birds appear in the garden and last week there were three Wrens here (ad+2 juv), a Goldcrest, Crossbills, Redpolls, Blackbirds, Redwings and Starlings.
The Starling is a fascinating bird. In springtime when courtship begins the white dots on the breast almost disappear and beautiful blue and violet colours intensify when they ruffle their feathers and sing their love songs.
Starlings are underestimated. They are both enjoyable and beautiful.
It is autumn and we have started putting out apples for the birds. There is no way to chose the ones the come to feed in the garden and the Starling is quite common here. This is the first apple this autumn and with the Starlings around it was finished within an hour.
Why does the Starling have such a bad reputation? Is it not a beautiful bird? Not many sport such luminescent blue and green colours.
Starlings started breeding in ocean cliffs in the South East of Iceland around 1940 . From 1960 they have bred in Reykjavík and since then they have spread around the country. There are still parts of the country that the Starling has not yet moved to, mostly in the North East and East. They started breeding in Selfoss around 1990.
This weekend my students at the local secondary school are counting their garden birds. Of course I took part in this interesting project and counted the birds in my garden in the hours between 11 and 12 am. I also took some photoes, but that goes without saying 😉
Weather: NE 12 m/sec, clear sky and temperature 0°C.
In this one hour I counted:
Nú um helgina eru nemendur mínir í FSu að telja garðfuglana sína. Ég tók að sjálfsögðu líka þátt í þessu skemmtilega verkefni og taldi garðfuglana mína á milli kl. 11:00 og 12:00 í morgun. Jafnframt tók ég myndir af nokkrum tegundum.
Hundreds of Starlings stay in our garden every night. Just before dark they come from all directions and in huge flocks they fly in big circles before they land in the trees. They found this place to overnight 25 years ago and have now decided to return.
Starlings have overnighted in different places around Selfoss through the years, changing places regulary.
This beautiful Starling is one of the birds that appreciates an apple. Not everyone likes the Starlings because they come in flocks, are noisy and boisterous and people believe they above other birds carry lice. All birds carry lice. The Starlings are bossy and often run other birds away, especially if there are some tasty bites to have. The Starlings that overnight in our garden and adjacent trees are probably well over two hundred and when they arrive in the twilight there is a lot of noise.