When I go out in the morning to put food down on the ground, there are usually at least half-a-dozen starlings hanging about in a nearby tree. But when I go back in, twenty to thirty birds appear immediately.
This morning, I got a possible insight why.
As soon as I emerged from the shed with the bucket of dried mealworms, a call went up from a couple of lurking starlings. A call that sounded a little like a car alarm, ‘wyu-wyu’. And it happened every time I emerged, every time I threw food down. It hadn’t happened before.
Within minutes, two trees had filled with twenty or more birds. The call clearly seemed to be linked, and was the equivalent of “Breakfast is served!”
It’s fair to say that feeding all these birds costs a bit, and they are currently getting through massive amounts of food. But I’m happy to be supporting them through winter. Starlings are in decline, and I’m just glad we have a thriving population here. Long may it continue to flourish.