I am finally getting around to reading the book Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.
It is a well-researched, deftly written account of starlings, and focuses on two individual birds in particular. One, a pet starling kept by Mozart himself. The other, the author’s own pet starling that she raised from a chick. I cannot deny that her lovingly detailed account is making me want a pet starling more than anything. Because then, I could be learning from them all the time.
One excerpt from the book really struck me. It perfectly sums up the complexity of the relationship with these birds:
“Starlings are shimmering, plain, despised, charming, collectively devastating, individually fascinating. We have the capacity to realize that while a species may be ecologically undesirable, the individuals of the species are just birds. Beautiful, conscious, intelligent in their own right. Innocent. Do I want starlings gone? Erased from the face of North America? Yes, unequivocally. Do I resent them as aggressive invaders? Of course. And do I love them? Their bright minds, their sparkling beauty, their unique consciousness, their wild starling voices? Their feathers, brown from one angle, shining from another? Yes, yes, I do. ”