European Starlings Came to Visit Santa Fe

By Eileen Richardson

First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with short tails, triangular wings, and long, pointed bills. Though they’re sometimes resented for their abundance and aggressiveness, they’re still dazzling birds when you get a good look. Covered in white spots during winter, they turn dark and glossy in summer. For much of the year, they wheel through the sky and mob lawns in big, noisy flocks.

I know that some people say the Starling is an invasive species and common thru the US because of Mr. Shakespeare, but I had never seen them here in the Santa Fe area.
I saw a cloud of 50 to 100 land in my yard the other day obviously eating something in the grasses.

They were taking over the birdbaths as well screeching and squawking. I had to look them up and found their glossy black wings with white speckles and almost velvet brown like patterns on their wings is their winter plumage.

I did see any article about them being bred in the Albuquerque area. So I can only assume these were a flock from south of us but not usually a visitor to this part of the state. If anyone knows anything other than that let me know.

Starlings are boisterous, loud, and they travel in large groups (often with blackbirds and grackles). They race across fields, beak down and probing the grass for food; or they sit high on wires or trees making a constant stream of rattles, whirrs, and whistles.

But because Starlings are common in towns, suburbs, and countryside near human settlements. They feed on the ground on lawns, fields, sidewalks, and parking lots. They perch and roost high on wires, trees, and buildings.

So this surprise visitor(s) isn’t common in the high elevations here nor the arid rural places here.

I wonder why they came and left and I had never seen them here before. I guess I was just lucky.