[Bird Brains] Fighting what feels like round 3 of the later winter flu, I'm working at home today. I have a laptop at the kitchen counter, where I can perch on a bar stool at a window and watch avian gymnastics at three different bird feeders.
Damn. In the past few days, the big-assed bully starlings (at left) have discovered the suet block that hangs from the cherry tree. I'd counted our yard as fortunate because, though I see starlings by the hundreds in trees around the neighborhood, they had yet to figure out we had a plentiful food source. Now they know.
The "woodpecker treat" suet block used to be just that--attractive to downy woodpeckers and the occasional black-capped chickadee. Now those starlings have turned it into their own private Chuck-a-Rama. They've scared every other bird away and are attacking the suet three birds at a time.
Except for the resident red-shafted flicker (member of the woodpecker family, pictured below, right), who at this very moment is hanging upside down from the suet block and eating like there's no tomorrow. He's a gorgeous male with the characteristic red head and mustache and red flashing from the underwing. And he's huge--about eight inches high. A few minutes ago, the flicker was down but not out. He kicked ass, chased off a half-dozen starlings and for now, is holding his own in the cherry tree.
He isn't giving up. I would call him the Hillary Clinton of the backyard bird world.
Does anyone know how to get rid of starlings? Without violence, of course. (Holly Mullen)