Starling – a “Lyrebird” in White Rock

One morning, about two weeks ago, I heard a bird singing so loudly that I figured it must have been on my railing. At first I didn’t think too much of it, but then I noticed that the song it was singing was very complex. And changing.

When I heard it make a sound exactly like a seagull, I had to try to see what it was, so I crept around my apartment to see my balcony railing. Just as I got the whole rail into view and realised there was nothing on it, I heard some light scrabbling on the roof above me.

I tried to will it to hop down, but instead I heard it imitate a hawk, bushtits, sparrows, flickers, and even a complex medley of woodpecker drilling with small songbirds in the background. I also heard it use a couple of interesting songs that I didn’t recognize. Oh, and a CAR ALARM.

I thought of the lyrebird immediately and had to try to record it, but then just as I got my phone ready, he stopped! I said aloud, “Either keep singing or show me who you are.” A second later, he hopped down on the railing and looked right at me. He stayed there for a while to make sure I knew who he was, then flew off. A starling! I couldn’t believe it. No one in Vancouver ever told me they could do this; in fact, one friend of mine gave me the impression that they were a nuisance. I always thought they were beautiful, but this really shocked me. I wish I had succeeded in recording him, because it was totally surreal.

A lady starling hopped on my railing shortly afterwards; it seemed she liked his song as much as I did and was looking for him. She seemed confused as she flew off, and a little disappointed. But perhaps I’m just projecting.

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