Every Winter there are swarms of birds outside of my basement-office window. They arrive suddenly, pecking the heck out of my lawn (but leaving the sprouts of my late-season re-seeding alone) and making off with various bugs and worms. Suddenly, the dense flock will take flight and land somewhere else in the yard, repeating the process until they disappear until the next year. The entire episode is just a few minutes. This particular visitation was on December 1, 2007. They disappeared an hour before the first snow-fall of the season.
All I know about the birds is that they are speckled and about the size of robins but sleeker (and my robin sightings happen in the Spring and early Summer).
I was reminded of this phenomenon on seeing the similar birds photographed out Doug Mahugh’s window on January 26, 2008. I asked about these on Doug’s post and I now know they are newcomers to this part of the world, European Starlings. That explains why they are a novelty for me.
I also remember seeing smaller versions of these getting tipsy on some berried shrubs outside a local McDonalds. I suspect they were juveniles out on their first toot.
Although we are still having unusual occurrences of snow, without accumulation, at the end of January, there are more active birds than I would expect with this unusual incidence of freezing conditions.
You can understand that when I saw these fellows hanging out in the neighborhood earlier this week, I couldn’t help but think of the Pixar video, "For the birds." (The "sneak peak" is definitely for the birds, but the old postings of the full Pixar short with the correct audio have been ordered taken down. This YouTube mashup may serve better.)