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A few months ago I started wandering up to Ithaca, NY, with a friend who is a doctoral student studying corvid behavior. It turns out we both have a rather large interest in birds most people consider pests. Somewhere in that conversation, she expressed a deep-seated desire to raise and work with a starling. I was intrigued by the idea and agreed it would be a fascinating experience.

A month or so later, while I was out of town, I was called and asked if I wouldn’t mind taking care of two starlings that were about 12 days old. My corvid friend had pulled them from a part of the house our landlord wanted to repair, and their mother had decided was excellent for nesting. Of course I agreed. While I have experience hand raising more socially acceptable birds like conures, cockatiels, and small parrots, I was unprepared for the fascinating differences involved in raising a demanding little starling.

But somewhere in there, I most definitely fell in love with the smaller of the pair. He never wanted to eat, had an infuriating habit of spitting food back at me, and had the gall to beg again as soon as I  (briefly) tried to get back to other aspects of my life like work. Little guy- lots of personality. The larger of the two now lives three doors down in my friend’s apartment, while the little guy, now named Ferdinand (yes, after the bull) lives in a cozy flight cage that has usurped the place that used to contain the dresser in my bedroom.

Somewhere between realizing I have a starling living in my bedroom and noticing his first adult feathers were starting to come in, I decided this has been, and will be, too much fun not to share.