Whenever we sit out on our back patio at dusk, we see a starling perched on the tv antenna next door, sometimes alone, often with one or two lady friends sitting politely behind him. He sits facing the east, cooing and gurgling and chirping and whistling as only starlings can do. He isn’t as musical as a mockingbird, but his song is as varied. As soon as daylight dies, he flies away, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by one or more of his adoring company.
Such peculiar little birds. Some consider them ugly and a nuisance, but we know better. Years ago, when we lived in Lakewood, New York, we had a pair that lived in an old squirrel hole in the roofline of our garage. They returned every spring from wherever starlings went for the winter months, every spring doing battle with whatever squirrel had had the audacity of temporarily taking over the hole, every spring winning the battle, then busy cleaning out the old stuff in their hole and bringing in new nesting material. Then the female would sit in one of our pine trees near the garage and sing her heart out through most of the daylight hours, cooing and clucking and gurgling and whistling until it was time to lay her eggs and then tend them. Four or five baby starlings would be born and both parents would spend the day foraging for food to bring back to the four or five hungry beaks sticking out of the hole. One spring, three starlings returned. We assumed the third one must have been a retarded son who couldn’t leave mom and dad. What familial devotion. What nice little birds.
Their flying skill is another matter. In areas where there are large populations of starlings, the birds engage in fascinating aerial maneuvers, flying in clouds that reel and flow like smoke against the early evening sky. One can go to You Tube and watch several segments that show this flight, but the best one is “Starlings on Otmoor.” Go there for five minutes that will knock your socks off. Do a search for Starlings on Otmoor, then click on the You Tube version.* * * * * * * * *
The shortest short story possible--one with romance and suspense, a hero and a villain, even a climax and a dénouement--is only four words long: "I do," she said.