Have you seen her all in gold
Like a queen in days of old?
She shoots colors all around,
Like a sunset going down,
Have you seen the lady fairer?
Yes, my unsung, rainbow beauty, the Starling makes another appearance in the blog. Non-native and maligned she may be, but still radiant and iridescent.
My stance on non-native animals is soft, but admittedly complex. I understand and often hear the counterpoints to my perspective. And I don’t deny the difficulty of dealing with masses of Starlings or non-native species in general.
The problem is my inability to turn away from an injured animal when I’m faced with that decision personally. I also recognize myself as a non-native on this land — belonging to a species that’s arguably more harmful to habitat and to species at large than Starlings ever were. So, I’d have to become a self-hating human or a hypocrite to feel the emotional antipathy toward Starlings that I know I’m supposed to.
You can blame Star and Ling for my mixed and misguided affections. And in that same post, you can also read about the society of Shakespearean groupies who released those first Starlings into Central Park — and the Scientific American piece that absolves Starlings in The Case of the Missing Bluebirds. And find a link to the official DFG information on various species and their regulations.
For the purposes of this post — and most of my posts — I appreciate the aesthetic that Starlings bring to the frame in terms of their purples and greens, and the young with their striking and speckled bellies. As photographic subjects, they may be common in number but they’re uncommonly lovely to my eye.
The Photos: 1) I was photographing Cliff Swallows last week and didn’t see that there was also a Starling nest nearby. This parent landed right above my head, bearing a meal for the nestlings. Shot with my Olympus E-520 and 70-300mm Zuiko lens (effective reach of 600mm). 2) This Starling was bathing in a San Francisco fountain, near the Embarcadero, hanging out with a small flock of blackbirds.