Spicey the Orphaned Starling: Family and Their Dogs Watch Over Him

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

We’ve got lots of lovely Spicey photos for you today.  See Album 1 and Album 2

Join the Flock!

If you’ve rescued an animal in distress, join the thousands of everyday heroes flocking to The Great Animal Rescue Chase.  We come together to celebrate the power of the individual and to work toward the collective goal of saving one million animals in need.  Simply go out and rescue an animal in need and then visit our website to load your story and photos (if you have them).  We strive to educate and inspire one another to reach new heights in day-to-day compassion.  Have a look at our Rescue Showcase.


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Carole R.
Carole R1 years ago

Nice story.

Fi T.
Fi T2 years ago

Let's watch over our animal friends

Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants2 years ago

a happy ending

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K2 years ago

How wonderful!

Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants2 years ago

great story

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Darla Taylor
Past Member 4 years ago

Awesome story! I think it's wonderful you saved Spicey. Sorry to hear that he's gone now. I Once rescued a baby cardinal so I know the bond of which you speak that you form for an orphan. Also, all of my cats are rescues.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.