If Starlings had…

If Starlings had contrails, like planes, then the sky above my garden would be painted with the paths of Starlings taking food to their recently hatched young.

Starlings are single-prey loaders when their chicks are young (they fly out from the nest to collect one item of food and fly back to the nest with it) and at the moment I can see three pairs going back and forth with small prey items in their beaks, often in the tips of their beaks.

There is the pair that are nesting across the road from me, under the eaves of a modern house. From where I usually sit in the garden I see them heading towards me with empty beaks and passing over my left shoulder heading out past the school (no sound of school children these days) to the farmland beyond. They fly fast and straight and almost always in the same direction. Some time later the bird will come back, beaked up, and head for the nest (which I can’t see from where I am, but I know where it is). Back and forth, back and forth. If Starlings had contrails then, depending on how long each lasted, there would be a woolly motorway of cloud dispersing and fading but being added to with a new thin clear line every now and again.

If I had my way, Starlings would have contrails, and the two members of the pair would have contrails of different colours – then I could enjoy working out who was doing most work and who last flew past. Would pink and blue contrails be too hackneyed?

But then, there is another pair which nest further down the street and which fly across my gaze. They have their own motorway – can I have them individually contrailed up too please?

And there is another pair who fly over my head, north-south or south-north, can they have their own colours too please?

There will be more pairs with hatched young soon. I’d like them colour-coded as well please. And I’d like a control button so that I can vary the time that the contrails last and are visible. After all, one doesn’t want the whole sky to be coloured in during the day with Starling flight paths – although, it would be fun, if Starlings had contrails.


3 Replies to “If Starlings had…”

  1. Think of all the air pollution the con trails would make, Mark. Is this wise?

  2. Our local Starlings often collect more than one food item to transfer to the nest. I guess this varies depending upon the prey species being exploited.

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