What kind of bird was this?
November 3, 2007 11:15 AM   Subscribe

What kind of bird was this? I found my cat playing with it, so if you're a bird lover, even though you may be able to help, you may want to stop reading here.

Warning for the very faint of heart, it's stuck in my cat's teeth, though not mangled.
Pic 1
Pic 2
I live in Los Angeles, north of Culver City, not particularly near any water. I think it might have been dropped in my yard by crows before the cats got to playing with it. By the time I got out there, it was limping around and not able to get away, even when the cats weren't actively holding it down, so it might also have been sick.
posted by mzurer to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Best answer: I'm pulling out Sibley's, but in the meanwhile, here are the clues I see: Long, downward curving, thickish bill and orange legs.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:28 AM on November 3, 2007

Best answer: It has a bit of a look of a juvenile European Starling, but it's hard to tell. Maybe a Rusty Blackbird or something else in the blackbird family.
posted by cardboard at 11:29 AM on November 3, 2007

Scratch the Rusty Blackbird; you're way out of its range.
posted by cardboard at 11:31 AM on November 3, 2007

Best answer: I was thinking Starling, too, actually. They're so common.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2007

Response by poster: It looks like it's the right size to be a starling, so I think that might be it. We've been hoping to get more birds around, but not as prey...
posted by mzurer at 11:38 AM on November 3, 2007

Response by poster: From this web site of an exterminator(!)

Young Starlings have brown-grey feathers and a whitish throat. Juveniles are brown with a dark bill, and might be confused with female and juvenile blackbirds, except for their characteristically short tails. The tip of the tail just barely extends beyond the tips of the closed wings.

That is pretty spot on, but I am not going to go dis-inter it to check the throat.
posted by mzurer at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2007

That's a cool looking cat. Is (s)he a particular breed or just come out that way?
posted by 31d1 at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2007

Response by poster: We got him from the pound, and they didn't specify...
posted by mzurer at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2007

Best answer: Well, I'm late (we were out birding, yeah), but Stewriffic and cardboard are right about it being a juvenile starling. Congrats to your cat (gorgeous!) - starlings are invasive and nasty, and at least if your cat is eating them, s/he's not eating native, "good" birds.
posted by rtha at 2:54 PM on November 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Agreed - juv starling. Feel no guilt about one less starling in the world. My love for birds does not extend to invasive species.

Do, however, perhaps worry about your cat's birding habits, unless it sticks to starlings.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:17 PM on November 3, 2007

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