Written by Anita Mitchell of Illinois, USA
My husband and I rescued an orphaned starling and named him Spicey.
Spicey came to us when a neighborhood child found he and his nestmates dumped onto the ground after a rain storm. The others had perished, but Spicey was chirping so she scooped him up and brought the baby to me.
I knew we could save him.
Spicey was darling and readily opened his beak so I knew we could save him. What I didn’t know is what an education raising him would be for us. Spicey became very affectionate and would fly to my husband and sit upon his shoulder. My husband would say “Go to Mom!” and Spicey would fly over to me. When he was older and in the trees learning to forage (Starlings are omnivores), he would come when we called him. It became a trick that the neighbors would come over to enjoy. If people were enjoying the pool next door, they would ask “Where’s the bird?” I would call him and he would come and land on my head or shoulder. I could walk the neighborhood with him on my shoulder!
Eventually, Spicey learned a few words. I know it’s hard to believe, but Starlings are terrific mimics. He learned to say several phrases, and it would be in the voice of whomever he heard say that phrase. He learned to say “Whatcha doin?” in my husband’s voice (or a very close approximation of his voice.) In my voice he said “Pretty Bird.” Readers Digest carried a story about another orphaned starling that learned to talk entitled “Arnie the Darling Starling.” Some nice person shared their copy with me after it became evident that Spicey was such an extraordinary mimic.
Eventually, in the early fall, a flock of starlings appeared and Spicey, who was spending much of his time in our trees, disappeared. I like to think that he joined a flock and prospered. Every time I see starlings, I think of my darling Spicey and wish the world would appreciate birds for the intelligent creatures they most certainly are. We (humans) are the “bird brains”!
More Gorgeous Spicey Family Photos
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