birds galore today - feeding on seeds in the garden

mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)August 9, 2013

I was outside in my backyard a little while ago, and kept hearing rustling in the grass in the front yard. I looked up that way and saw a lot of birds flying around and hopping in/out of the trees. Went back inside and looked out my front window, and there was probably 20 or so birds either struting around the grass or in the big pine tree in my neighbors yard. Looked like they were feeding on the seeds or some other tasty treat they were finding!

Then they went away as quickly as they came, and a little while later, were taking to the back yard. I got a couple of pics, but not too good as I was shooting through the window screen.

Any idea what kind these are? I think maybe a grackle or blackbird?

(not sure if the spots on this bird are just from the poor focus/exposure, or if it really had them!)

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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

Very cool, Marj!

In your top photo, I definitely think the white freckles are part of his outfit.

In the bottom photo, are they in a bird bath? Maybe this is spa day? :)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 2:12PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

My first thought was to say blackbirds, but I don't think there are any blackbirds, even immature ones, with very distinctive spots like that. Could they be starlings? Check out the link below. There's good info on the Identification and the Life History tabs.

If it's either blackbirds or starlings, they're both nuisance birds. Will eat you out of house and home--and seed, and very "dirty" birds---a/k/a: poop all over the place! I haven't seen any starlings around here, but for the last couple weeks I've had a HUGE herd of brewer's blackbirds around. Couldn't keep 'em chased away no matter what I did! They'd fly up into the trees and sit up there laughing at me till I came back inside! Had to finally let the feeders "big birds" can access get empty and just stay that way! In the last couple days they seem to have disappeared again.

The one possible problem I see with yours being a starling is that they have yellow beaks and in the pic it looks like yours has a black beak. Maybe that's just the pic!

The "top" bird on the birdbath looks like a robin to me--right shape and has its head up like they do when they're drinking, but the pic is too dark to be sure of anything.

Here's a link to the brewers blackbird so you can do some checking if/when they come back. These two pages also link to other "similar species." If you don't have a bird book--or two, Cornell All About Birds is a great site to look them up!

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brewers_Blackbird/id

Hope this helps you,
Skybird

Here is a link that might be useful: European Starling - All About Birds

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 3:06AM
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relsa

These are European starlings-very invasive and not good in your yard. They can come in flocks of a hundred, and run all other birds away.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:15PM
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david52 Zone 6

Starlings do have one positive attribute: they feed heavily on sod web worm larvae.

So I don't mind seeing a few hundred show up chez moi and go at 'em.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:18AM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Thanks Skybird and relsa for the identification - I did google images for european starling, and they do indeed look like the ones I saw in my yard! The spotted ones must have been young birds.

Didn't see them back until yesterday, when they again seemed to just appear in a swarm. They were feeding on something in the backyard lawn (bit of a grass and weed mixture) - perhaps they were finding sod worm larvae, David. I'll have to do some research on that and see if our lawn has that problem. if so, then maybe I'll send an invitation to the starlings to come and get 'em ;)

Marj

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 12:45PM
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