Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Like A Scene Out Of A Hitchcock Film

Lately, my back yard has looked like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic "The Birds".

(I know...I know... The quality of these photos is very poor, but it’s the best I can do with my camera. Also, the amount of birds you see in these pictures is fairly small; there are moments when there are (eerily) many, many more.)

I believe that the birds in the photos above are starlings. Not my favourite birds. And certainly not the most welcome.


This somewhat eerie invasion started last week, and although we initially intended to chase them away, we’re now hoping that these birds continue to visit for awhile. And invite more friends and family members to join them.


No, not really. When these (typically) pesky birds arrived, they took absolutely no interest in the bird feeders. Instead, they pecked away at the lawn like mad. Curious as to what they were feasting on, my husband watched with binoculars. And you know what he saw them pulling up from the ground? Grubs! Yes, grubs. Rotten, miserable, nerve-shattering, lawn-obliterating, plant-destroying, slimy, evil-beyond-your-imagination grubs. Ugh, how I hate those things.


Now that we’ve discovered that the starlings are grub-eating birds, and that they gather in huge numbers to gorge themselves with these slimy things, we have allowed them free access to the back yard. Temporarily, of course. The birds know that once the grubs are gone, they have to leave, or else we’ll declare war. Not that I expect starlings to respect this verbal agreement. You know how they can be.

In the meantime, I hope the starlings manage to bring down the number of grubs hiding under the lawn. Otherwise, we can pretty much kiss the grass goodbye.


  1. Yes Martha this is a common sight in Kingston and an ongoing battle all the time .. we are lucky and don't have this much at all .. plus the fact I am getting rid of grass more and more each year till it is pretty well ALL gone ... but you have a lot and just starting out with the garden so it will be a bit of a struggle for you .. never mind .. garden centers will be opening SOON !!! haha

  2. Ah yes, the large flocks of starlings, red wing blackbirds, and grackles ... they swoop in and clear up the lawn eating grubs and all the seed dropped by other birds over the winter. They try to get into all the birdhouses and we are forever scaring them away.

  3. Wow, I didn't realize that starlings ate grubs. Guess I won't be quite so quick in trying to scare them away. Lord knows, we got grubs aplenty...

  4. Hi Joy, I know about the grub problem, so I wasn't surprised that our lawn is most likely under attack by them. I'm not a big fan of lawns, and I'd rather have less of it. But for now it's there and I'd like for it to remain somewhat attractive. I'll be carving out a couple of new planting areas next month, so there'll be less grass fairly soon.

    Hi Linda, I've got all those birds in my backyard - grackles, starlings and blackbirds - but it's the starlings that have been pecking away at the grubs. I'm just hoping they bring down the numbers a bit; I certainly don't expect them to exterminate them completely. It would be nice, though.

    Beth, I had no idea either that starlings at grubs. But I'm certainly happy to see them munching away in the backyard. Once they're done with the grubs, I'm going to have to chase them away. They're a nuisance at the feeders, and they're really messy and aggressive. They know this is a short term agreement. Now, whether they will respect it or not is another story... :)