Feed on

Tired Starlings

When I go to Joel’s house, I frequently take this strange little bike/pedestrian bridge across the Kaw River. It’s a great little cut-across which eliminates a pretty nasty convergence of two interstate ramps and three surface streets. It’s also got some nifty artwork on it. Randy Niere, a friend and fellow photographing bike nut, has some great pictures of it here.

But I digress.

There’s a little side-path that leads up to this bridge, and the path runs below a freeway overpass with an intricate web of girders and supports which attracts roosting starlings like iron filings to a magnet. As you pass along this path at night, you hear a continuous squeaking shriek, and the syncopated pattering of bird-shit hitting the ground. Thanks to my fancy new headlight, I can also see poop-bombs whistling downward. I’ve gotta tell you, it’s just about better not to see it coming.

One of these days I’m gonna go through there of an evening and set my camera to video and try to capture the cacophony (and caca) that starlings settling down for the night produce. I also need to shoot some daylight pics to illustrate how thickly the path is paved in poop. It’s amazing how you can get so much crap out of such tiny birds.

I’ve made two sort of oblique pop-cultural references, I just realized. The most recent is in the paragraph above; it’s cribbed from Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper when Jimmy Sr. is cleaning up the yard and comments on the dog Larrygrogan, saying, “It’s amazing you can get so much shite out of only one dog.”

The other is in the title, and is part of the lyrics to Cream‘s song White Room.

In the white room, with black curtains, near the station,
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings,
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes.
Dawn light smiles on you leaving, my contentment.


Look–it’s much better if you hear it.
There. Much better.

I have a friend who objects to starlings perching on the power, phone, and cable lines running into her house, so she periodically shoots bottle-rockets at the starlings to encourage them to stay away. I also think she likes having an excuse to fire off a few bottle rockets from time to time. I’m going to have to let off a few smoke-bombs this weekend, I think. I’m in the mood for tame, yet colorful pyrotechnics.

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