The introduced bird species, Common Starling, is very common in our district, including our garden. They are also very common throughout south-eastern Australia, sometimes forming flocks numbering in the thousands.
They are a much maligned bird – and with good reason. We certainly don’t like the way they feast on the fruit in our orchard and they certainly foul up tree hollows when nesting, making the hollows most unattractive to native species.
They also have an uncanny knack of being able to imitate other birds. More than once I have been over excited about hearing an unusual call in the garden, only to realise that a starling is responsible. One of our resident starlings is able to very cleverly imitate a chook (chicken) cackling. Years ago we even had one around that was able to imitate the outside bell of a telephone, something it had learned from a nearby factory.
There is one redeeming feature of this species. At certain times of the year they do take on a very colourful, shimmering, iridescent array of colours, as shown in the birds featured in the photos today. (Hint: click on the photos to enlarge the image.)