The Joker

7 04 2020

I was sat in the sun outside my conservatory (at the back of the house as prescribed by law right now I think) when I heard something really odd…

I distinctly heard a female barn owl calling repeatedly. However, it was daylight, sunshine even. What was going on? Owls only come out at night…

I looked at the sparrows who sit on my hedge out the back and they were completely unperturbed. Surely they would know to take cover if an owl was about?

Another strange thing was that it appeared to be coming from a stationary position on my conservatory roof. I suspected a starling… I got up to peer at the nearby hedge just past the conservatory roof and there was the guilty party sitting innocently in a bush with his back to me.

I asked myself why on earth a starling would make a call of a prey bird which would be a danger to itself if one appeared? After a google search that night, it appears the answer to why starlings make such odd noises and imitate things is to attract a mate.

What on earth mate would be interested in a starling who was pretending to be a large, beady-eyed owl? I decided he either didn’t want a mate or was after a mate with a sense of humour!

I’m amazed that the sparrows weren’t concerned at all – they obviously knew him of old. He (I’m assuming the bird is a male as females are normally quieter) does sit out there daily making the same owl noises interspersed with all the other weird noises starlings make.

At least he’s keeping me entertained during my enforced imprisonment!


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14 responses

2 05 2020
Pelisplus

I absolutely love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme.
Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own site and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.
Many thanks!

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3 05 2020
mountaincoward

Well thanks!

I sort of created it myself in as much as I just followed the WordPress prompts, tutorials, and applied a bit of common sense to the process. I hadn’t done anything like it before and had it up and running in a reasonable form with a single post by the end of an evening. The theme is ‘Freshy’ if it’s still available.

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16 04 2020
underswansea

That is interesting. I have never heard a starling do this. Ravens and crows also do this. Perhaps they learned from humans. Men have been known to pretend they are something they are not to attract a mate.

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16 04 2020
mountaincoward

They have – but this would be a bit like a guy pretending to be an axe murderer to attract a mate. Mind you, having seen how many weird women write to rapists and murderers in prison, maybe that would work!

My starling is going off the owl noises now – he does them sometimes but is experimenting with new sounds. He’s constantly interesting, that’s for sure. He’s not a bit timid either – you can walk right past him and he just sits there on his branch debating what noises to make next 🙂

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23 04 2020
underswansea

Ha ha! Lots of birds imitate owls. They are like the king of the jungle in this neck of the woods. I have always wondered about women who marry men in prison. Take care.

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8 04 2020
Alli Templeton

Thanks for making me giggle with this, Carol! 😀 Funnily enough, I’ve also just found out that starlings are great mimics, although goodness knows what the one I came across was after – it was making a weird kind of rapid clicking sound! Your little fella was obviously punching above his weight, bless him!

I don’t know if you’ve found this, but one thing I’ve noticed is that the wildlife appears to be getting bolder all the time. We’ve seen four barn owls in one evening recently, and another regular has been the ‘daily deer’ sighting. Everything seems to be coming out of the fields and hedgerows, which in a way is quite comforting. I hope you’re coping OK, and that the starlings and their animal friends continue to keep you entertained. 🙂

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9 04 2020
mountaincoward

perhaps we’ve all ground to a halt so much that the birds of prey are coming in for the kill! 😮

Liked by 1 person

10 04 2020
Alli Templeton

Ooooh, I’m reminded of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’! Scary! 😮

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8 04 2020
John Bainbridge

Might be making it to scare the others away so he can binge.

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9 04 2020
mountaincoward

binge on females or bird food? Won’t be the latter as they rarely take any of the seed I put out – they mostly rake the field behind the house for sheep droppings etc…

Liked by 1 person

10 04 2020
John Bainbridge

We have ’em in all the time. Not least a pheasant.

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10 04 2020
mountaincoward

I get a cock pheasant too and he does clear up all the poor sparrow’s seed. I let him eat one pile then chase him off. He’s getting quite bold though… I used to have a pet cock pheasant who used to wake me up every morning at 0500 and I’d lean out of my caravan and feed him sugar puffs. One day he brought 6 or 7 of his girlfriends. Unfortunately, he was so tame that some rotten beggar put him in their stew 😦

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7 04 2020
Blue Sky Scotland

Starlings are good mimics. Maybe they do it to amuse themselves as well like a child finding out they can hoot like an owl or blow grass stalks using their hands. Those of us who have gardens are lucky as I’ve been out in the deck chair as well, reading a book and watching wildlife. See a lot of the banks and building societies have shut their doors now as well. After the virus this may well be the excuse used for complete online banking and the removal of all cash.

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9 04 2020
mountaincoward

I honestly do think they will use this as an excuse for cash never to come back and to make us all bank online. I’ll be horrified if they do as I’ve never trusted online banking and I think I’m right not to! If criminals are spending all their time getting around online banking safeguards, it’s obviously not a very safe hobby!

Apparently, starlings can be taught to speak too. They’re certainly an interesting and entertaining bird. I’m glad I have some out back…

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