The weather seemed to be turning wintry some time ago, so I put six pounds of suet in two baskets, for the birds that thrive on bugs - especially the Starlings. Chickadees and the Woodpecker family also like suet. The suet remains.
Yesterday I heard and saw a flock of Starlings high in the trees during the morning walk with Sassy. I have not seen them in the yard. They were making the rounds, since they took off as a group. Today I will put fresh water in all the birdbaths, because the dry weather has to make them relatively short of bathing and drinking water. Starlings really make a fuss in the water, which attracts more creatures to the scene.
People hate Starlings for what the Creator designed them to be - smart, social, and voracious eaters. But we discount whatever is plentiful, until we notice a shortage of what we once took for granted. Starlings arrive in flocks and seem to dominate, but I wonder about the claim that they "drive out native species." That is like saying, "The squirrels eat all the bird-food." On a given day, many bird species eat, and the squirrels take their turn. A squirrel will bat the birds away, just as we swat at flies, but the birds wait in the trees and bushes for their turn.
The Starlings decide to eat from someone's lawn, and they gather in the normal pattern. One scout bird lands. Next a few more join the scout. Soon the entire flock is on the ground, engaged in eating. But if the scout bird rises to the air in alarm, the entire flock takes off.
Starlings never seem to stop foraging. When I first discovered mulch, I noticed how they marched through the garden, flipping grass-leaf mulch over to expose the bugs enjoying the shade or feeding from decomposition.
Their larger cousins, the Grackles, are often around Starlings. The Grackles are even better at spearing the ground for grubs.