Street Birds

The Sydenham Starlings – capital S, are some of, if not my favourite birds. They have learned to beg for food and mingle with shoppers in the most charming way meaning nobody complains. If it were pigeons, people just wouldn’t stand for it.

In winter, the birds left to forage elsewhere. Now back and in full blag, I went to watch them for a bit to see what mischief they had found in the birdtopia of Sydenham’s Bell Green Park shopping district.

The birds wear black eye masks, adding oodles of anthropomorphism. As if they need any. These birds are characters in their own right. I would like to meet another horde of starlings for comparison. Is it that these are special because of the way they have adapted to thrive alongside humans, or do all starlings carry on like this?

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I brought with me some bird seed and nuts, not wanting to show up empty handed. I was however snubbed. These little snobs are too good for healthy snacks, preferring a salty chip slurped out of a puddle to my dry, unbranded seed mix.

I had wanted to get closer to the birds than ever before, but I needed a plan. The seeds alone weren’t going to cut it. I procured a large chips from McDonalds, ate them (not wanting to inflict them on the birds), and filled the box with my healthy-bird-trail-mix. Recognising the glow of the golden arches, the little crooks flocked to my trap but approached its opening with surprising caution. I felt a bit like a parent trying to wean their fat children off sweets. This ensued.

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Bait taken, I left the birds confused but better off.

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