One of the fledgling acrobats

Okay…I lied. I do have a picture for you. I didn’t at the time I wrote that previous entry, but this fella decided the arbor by our patio was a great place to sit while his folks chowed down on the suet cake nearby.

He’s a fledgling European Starling who hasn’t yet started to get his adult plumage. Figuring out he was a Starling took me a little time.

I’d only seen pictures of juvenile Starlings sporting their stars already, so at first I didn’t think he was a Starling. Since Starling adults were taking care of him (stuffing his mouth with chunks of suet and God knows what else), I then reasoned that he might be a young Brown-Headed Cowbird. I thought perhaps the Starling parents had been duped!

Cowbirds, by the way, are the avian kingdom’s deadbeat parents. They lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, then take off. The unwitting adoptive parents’ babies are most often pushed out of the nest by the much larger baby cowbirds, and the parents raise the foreign chicks as their own. Like author Tom Godin writes, it’s really amazing that these birds can be raised by so many different bird parents and yet revert completely back to being cowbirds as soon as they grow up and leave the nests; you’d think they’d imprint on their adoptive parents and identify with their various species.

But I digress…A quick search for pictures of young Cowbirds ruled that out, though; as you can see, they’re very speckled when young, plus their beaks are shorter than those of Starlings.

Along my way down Research Lane, I found and it cleared up the question, once and for all, of who this little guy is. What a GREAT series of photos of chicks! They’re people after my own heart, capturing life’s minutae, stuff others might not see. 🙂

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