I don’t remember seeing them in our area before or I was not aware of their quiet & super swift presence. This spring I noticed them during my balcony birding and since I had read about them, I was quick to identify.
They look like tiny specs of black dancing through the skies. The best place to watch their aerial dance is in open (uninterrupted) expanse of land. Buildings allow only a sneak peak and by the time you notice them they are gone in a blink. Photographing them from the balcony was a big challenge; I even tried the terrace but in vain. You can manage a quick capture only if you are super alert as from where they will come, how swift they will be and how much view you may get of them is unpredictable. It took me a fortnight to get some decent shots of them. Since I do not use telephoto/zoom lens it was a greater challenge. Nevertheless I am happy with what I could capture.
They look undisciplined & messy but somehow it keeps them from colliding with each other during the swift turns, dives & swoops. What the naked eye sees is a shape made of black spots swaying happily to a tune in the sky.
The movement of the starlings is known as murmuration (“…..murmuration refers to the phenomenon that results when hundreds, sometimes thousands, of starlings fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky…”) and its a wow moment if you get to watch it. Apparently this highly synchronized choreographic movement is a defense mechanism to keep themselves safe from predators.
The Rosy Starlings or Rose colored Pastor (Pastor Roseus) are migratory birds who fly in from east Europe and central Asia and spend their winters in India & other tropical Asian countries. The birds arrive between August and early December, and can be spotted until April. They get the name from the light pink-rose colored body.
The best time to spot them is dawn and dusk. To capture their pink body you got to catch them just after the sun has fully risen. The window of spotting them then is short though. This winters I hope to see and photograph them in their roosting space.
A close cousin are the mynahs with whom they have no issues in sharing their living space, In fact, the Rosys are highly sociable and believe in harmonious community living.
For the farmers they are natural pest controllers as they feast on locusts, grasshoppers and other pests. This coincides with their breeding time. Whereas once they migrate to India, they feed on fruits, berries & jowar (white millet).
Do watch out for the next post on another species from my #BalconyBirdingList
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Monika Ohson | TravelerInMe