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Speaking of Starlings, the annual fall Starling roost in our neighborhood
in Benton Park is in full swing.  Each evening a very large flock of
starlings roosts in the big tree in the yard across the street and all
the neighboring tall trees.  The flock is much larger this year than
previously, but I'm not very adept at counting, and the several roosting
sites make it harder to count anyway.  At 7:00 a.m., after a fair amount
of chatter, they begin dispersing in large flights with a whoosh of
wings.  The neighborhood's a.m. coffee drinkers stand outside in this
lovely weather and watch them go.  Jim Zeibol said if the flock was too
large for the food supply, they would leave earlier rather than later. 
For now, they're still here, but I imagine they'll be leaving soon. 
Don't know where they go.

Gail Ahumada
St. Louis   

n Fri, 14 Oct 2005 21:54:56 -0500 Robert Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
writes:
> Every fall around this time, I notice that Starlings are behaving 
> like 
> Chimney Swifts. They fly around high in the air where swifts usually 
> fly, 
> flutter their wings like swifts and apparently hawk insects like 
> swifts. For 
> most of the rest of the year they are ground feeders.
> 
> The appearance of swift-like Starling behavior in October usually 
> coincides 
> with the departure of Chimney Swifts, because I rarely see them 
> together. 
> Indeed, I have only seen one Chimney Swift in the last few days -- 
> in 
> downtown Kansas City. They were common in the air over Independence 
> only a 
> week ago.
> 
> I'm guessing that our swifts are now down around Joplin, or even 
> further 
> south.
> 
> Watching Starlings behave like swifts in October raises a number of 
> 
> questions for which I do not have answers.
> 
> Why is swift-like Starling behavior so noticeable only in October? 
> If the 
> insects are there for the swifts in summer, why don't Starlings go 
> after 
> them then too?
> 
> If airborne insects are so accessible in October that Starlings 
> abandon 
> their usual feeding habits to go after them, why don't the swifts 
> hang 
> around a little longer to enjoy the same feast?
> 
> Why do swifts, which arrive in April when it is still pretty cold, 
> not 
> winter in the southern states, which seem to be at least as 
> swift-hospitable 
> as northern states are in April? For that matter, why do swallows 
> and bats 
> (except for Tree Swallows, which will eat berries) also go below our 
> 
> southern border in winter?
> 
> Apparently,  there is more to it for an environment to be 
> swift-friendly, 
> swallow-friendly and/or bat-friendly, than the presence of insect 
> food in 
> the air.
> 
> Bob Fisher
> Independence, Missouri
> [log in to unmask] 
> 
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