Ummm! Excuse Me Sir.. That My Food Your'e Eating - Starling - NZ

AndreaEL

Gore, New Zealand

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Starlings are considered both noxious and useful on the New Zealand agricultural scene. Orchardists consider it to be a pest but in pastoral areas this species is beneficial as it preys upon grass grub, Costelytra zealandica, and other pests. From the 1906 volume of the Transactions and Proceedings of the NZ Institute, “There is hardly any limit to the good words said of the starling. It is frequently described as the only introduced bird worth having. It is found in nearly all parts of the colony, and its arrival in a new district is welcomed by all who are engaged in agriculture. Large numbers of farmers erect nesting-boxes in order to encourage it to come about their farms. Besides eating insects, it does a great deal of good by destroying larks’ eggs and eating the ticks on sheep. Many farmers look upon this bird as being the only true insectivorous bird introduced into this colony. Somewhat alarming stories are told by quite a large number of correspondents, however, about the starling having taken to devouring fruit and even grain.” The food of the starling in the main consists of insects but also fruit, grain, eggs of ground breeding birds, and nectar from flowers. Flax, kowhai and rata are among the species visitted for their nectar. Starlings may be seen feeding on the shore among caste up seaweed in association with pipits, gulls, sparrows and rock pigeons. Any site that will hold a nest and give some protection from the weather is good enough for the starling, cliffs, holes in trees, dense vegetation, buildings, chimney pots. The nests ae roughly built of grass and lined with feathers. The breeding season is mainly from September to November. The eggs take about thirteen to fourteen days to incubate. During the winter, the starling resorts in immense numbers to certain roosting places for the night. These are often small outlying islands, such as Tiritiri Matangi, or plantations of gums or pine trees. Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to imbed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms, and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language. This is the first time I have seen the starlings eating the fat roll put out for the little Wax Eyes. They usually dig up earth worms and such from the ground. They have obviously twigged that there is an easy meal hanging in the tree. The little Wax-Eyes steer clear when he visits the food, he grabs a few mouth fulls and then takes off.. We have a number of resident Starlings and to me they have amazing and beautiful plumage as well as a wonderful song….
It is amazing too how the little wax-eye’s, eyes stand out even with the starlings bright plumage and with him being slightly out of focus…
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ25 July 2011 Southland New Zealand.

Ummm! Excuse Me Sir.. That My Food Your’e Eating – Starling


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Artwork Comments

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