Hundreds of Starlings at East Point Park: August 2022

European Starlings don’t have the finest reputation. Introduced in New York in 1890, reaching Niagara Falls in 1914 and Brockville in 1919, the first were seen in Toronto on March 24 1925. Several of our hole-nesting native birds have suffered with competition with starlings: such species as the Eastern Bluebird, Red-headed Woodpecker and Northern Flicker have all been reduced in numbers.

As fall approaches, starlings gather in ever larger numbers which are called “murmurations” after the wing sound of many birds in the sky together.

I visited East Point Park on the eastern Scarborough Bluffs twice this week and had many large flocks of starling the first day and none the second.

European Starlings and a Robin
European Starlings
European Starlings
European Starlings
European Starlings with Robin and Waxwing
European Starlings
European Starlings
European Starlings

Other birds and a butterfly:

Eastern Kingbird
Mourning Dove
Eastern Kingbird
Cabbage White Butterfly in Purple Loosestrife
Cedar Waxwing
Mallards
Cedar Waxwing
Mallards
Eastern Kingbird
House Finch (female)
Canada Geese
Cedar Waxwing (juvenile)
American Robin and American Goldfinch (male)
Gray Catbird
Mourning Dove
American Goldfinch (female)
Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Common Grackle
view from East Point Park

STARLING in HISTORY

Starlings were sacred birds to the ancient Celts. The Druids held Starlings in honor, and in fact, the word for “starling” in Welsh is “drudwen” or “drudwy”. The Mabinogion speaks of Branwen, sister to the giant hero-god King Bran, who was imprisoned and forced into servitude for King Matholwch of Ireland, despite having borne him a son. Branwen trained her pet Starling to speak and sent him to her brother, who waded across the sea and defeated the Irish, freeing Branwen. – wikipedia

Miles Hearn


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