Flora and Fauna

Non-Native Birds: Starling Rehab

I’ve been working to get back into a regular practice, which is hard for me. I’m very bad at holding myself accountable, and if I don’t have some form of external checks, its near impossible for me to form a habit. What that looks like now is I’m super organized with work and school, but my home life is a hot mess, which I tend to embrace. None of this is good when you are flying solo in your spiritual life.

That being said, I try to connect with the Gods, namely Brigit, and I provide Her with burnt offerings when I remember or feel compelled (I’d like to say I do this weekly, but its more like several times per month without regularity). I try to burn dried mint from my garden, only because it was one of the few aromatic herbs I grew last year. She seems to accept it. I offer it with thanks for Her support in my life, and I say I am ready to listen. Normally, I don’t get a response, perhaps just a sense of calmness. Sometimes, I get a theme or a feeling about something I need to do, without any sort of direct message. Recently, that has been the need to manifest things for myself, because if I don’t make the effort to welcome the Gods/Ancestors/spirits into my home and create a welcoming environment, they don’t want to be here, so we won’t be able to connect. Ok, message heard, I will work on it.

Starling nestling on May 17, 2018; approx 7-8 days

Then there’s this bird. Let me preface this by saying I never had a bird growing up, was never around birds really until I was an adult, and those were chickens. We did not have our own mini-flock at our home until last year. I want you all to understand that I am not a bird person. I am also not a wildlife rehabber. I would find baby birds as a kid and try to make them comfortable as they died (little me had no idea what to do to save them). I did better with cats, and tried once each with a bunny and a duckling as an adult (I did not remove either from their nests/parents, we can chat more about those particular incidents if you are concerned about my actions).

But now there’s this bird. Its a nestling, just getting a few pin feathers poking through, so nowhere near ready to be out of the nest. The nest is in the highest peak of the neighbors roofline, we can see the parents and hear the other babies, just can’t reach the nest. This little guy must’ve rolled down the roof and fallen into some leaves left over from autumn. Somehow, its still alive and seems uninjured. Still too little to be hopping around, but he just sort of scoots. Eyes are open, and mouth gapes for food. I bring him into the house, and let the boys know we’re going to try and save it, but he may not make it. I have no idea what to give it, so I water down some chick crumble and try feeding it with tweezers. It goes good the first night, and he’s still alive the next day. I find out some more info on what I should be feeding him, we switch up his diet, and I get in touch with a rehabber, who can’t take him because he’s a starling, but gives me some good tips. So we keep at it, with the intent to release upon adulthood.

Feathers beginning to erupt from sheathes. May 21, 2018; approx 11-12 days

I’m really not handling the bird, and he seems wary of me, so I think this will be good, he didn’t imprint and will be fine to return to the wild. Until about two days ago, when one of the cats came into the room he’s secluded in, and he didn’t seem too concerned. I started paying closer attention to how he was acting around me, and he doesn’t shy away. I’ve been stroking his throat occasionally to make sure his crop is good, and at his last feeding before bed to try and get a little extra in him. No concern on his part. Well, maybe we’re going to have a pet starling. He stays alive, and we remove an invasive species from the local ecology. It will be fine.

Hangry little floof. May 24, 2017; approx 14-15 days

Then there’s today. We’ve decided to convert our greenhouse frame into an aviary, so he can live outside, and I’ve been looking for a cage to hold him over in the meantime. He’s going to start flying soon today, so I know he needs to have some containment for his safety. I go in for his lunchtime feeding, and since we’re probably going to keep in, I figure I can pick him up and handle him a little. If he shows any fear or tries to get away, well, we’ll know we need to release him and I won’t mess with him any more. Not only is there no fear, but the little booger decides he’s going to flutter now. So I sit down, he tries to fly, then he starts hopping up my leg, torso, shoulder, and makes himself at home in my hair. Yeah, there’s no people fear for this guy. We finish our feeding, and I put him back in his basket, with a cage arriving sometime this afternoon.

I’m working on the computer today, and I decide to start looking up starlings in the Celtic lore. Its been a while since I read the Mabinogion (yes, I know it’s Welsh), but I remember there’s a starling in one of the stories. So quick search, see a couple references, nothing major. Then I decide to look into the starling as part of the Irish ecology (already knew they started in Britain and are widespread in Europe), so I figured something would be there. Found this entry in BirdWatch Ireland, and I’m intrigued by the Irish word for ‘starling’, and why its meaning transformed in the English usage. Needs some further study on my part.

I feel like there’s a message here, so I’ll keep taking care of the bird and await further signs.



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