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Juvenile Starling - odd plumage - London UK

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Old Sunday 20th June 2010, 12:32   #1
ChrisKten
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Juvenile Starling - odd plumage - London UK

This might be the wrong sub-forum for this, but anyway:

I've over 50 juv Starlings in my garden this year (pretty much the same as every year), and I watch them for hours each day. I've noticed a few with this violet-coloured staining on the throat and chest. I've checked pictures of juveniles from previous years, and this is the first year that I've seen it.

There's a few possibilities that spring to mind:
  • Blood - the violet colour would be right for this.
  • Eating Blackberries - there aren't any berries on the bush this early in the year, and the Starlings stay in my garden during daylight hours, so another source is unlikely (it's costing me a fortune ).
  • Skin showing through the feathers - through binoculars it looks like the feathers themselves are this colour.
  • Plumage variation in juveniles that I've somehow missed each year - possible I suppose.

So, anyone have any ideas on this please? My main concern is a stain from blood, as it would mean the Starlings are being injured in, or near, my garden somehow. Just to make it clear; it's only a few that are like this, as you can see by the bird in the background of the first picture.

Thanks.
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Old Sunday 20th June 2010, 13:31   #2
stonechat1
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Hi Chris, this are no blood stains IMHO. Old blood is very dark when it coagulate, this seems more as some fruit juice how berries (e.g. strawberries). Note that the color is from the base of the bill till to the leggs. No wound will show such dimension with this unharmed plumage.
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Old Sunday 20th June 2010, 14:28   #3
ChrisKten
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Thanks for replying.

I'm also leaning towards fruit, that they are getting somewhere else. There's so many birds in my small garden, that I've probably missed a few flying off and then returning.

I'll try and watch one as it goes in the bird bath, and see if the colour washes off.

Thanks again.
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