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STARLINGS IN THE FAMILY

Updated on April 8, 2012

Starlings in the Family

How to survive falling in love with a supremely intelligent, breathtakingly lovely, endlessly demanding and affectionate little bird ... while rearranging your entire life to keep him safe, healthy and happy.

A pet starling captures the human heart like no other creature can, and can become a cherished participant in family life.  What could be more important than finding accurate, well researched information on how to provide your darling starling a long and joyous life.

Lens of the Year - 2nd Place!!!

Thanks so much to everyone who voted and supported Peanut's lens.

It was fun and exciting to be competing in such talented company, and thrilling to be voted 2nd place overall. John Fenzel's awesome Cuban Missile Crisis lens earned top spot, and if you haven't read it...you should!

Help Support the Earth - ...and everything that's living here!

All royalties from this lens are assigned to help support life on this earth in some way, through either the proactive efforts of the Earthjustice organization, or the continuing work of the A.S.P.C.A. Every purchase made through any link in this lens will generate a donation to these two important causes.

Chapter 1: In The Beginning

A tiny baby starling, bruised and dehydrated....

Would he live? It didn't seem likely. So tiny and helpless, bruised in a 30-ft fall and dehydrated from the hot sun, he was barely alive. Water with a little corn syrup added was placed one drop at a time on the corner of his beak. The drops were instinctively sucked in and swallowed, one every few minutes for hours and hours - the only sign that there was still a spark of life. Then a miracle happened - the teeny wobbly head lifted on the spindly little neck and the yellow clown lips gaped wide!! A few minuscule bites of cooked egg yolk were eagerly gobbled, then the little Peanut went still. Oh oh ... was there still life? A few hours later, in time with the sunrise, the clown lips gaped wide again and the tiniest sound emerged. More food disappeared down the mini-maw, kicking off a 15-min FEED-ME cycle that continued throughout the day, and the next...and the next... My mind was fixated only on preserving this tiny life, and I was innocently unaware that my own life was about to change drastically, and unquestionably for the better. Stay tuned for Chapter 2...

Emergency Care - Found a baby bird?

If you've found a baby bird on the ground, and it appears injured, dehydrated or otherwise distressed, please click on the following link for instructions on how to proceed.

Chapter 2: Three Weeks Old!

Mommy, Can I, Can I, Can I......?

Little Peanut grew so fast that I could SEE the difference in him every morning. Spiky feather sheaths seemed to grow as I watched, while the bruised and bulbous pink/yellow belly receded. Over the first 3 weeks he had to go everywhere with me in a jury-rigged carry-all, and it was a busy time with a funeral plus a wake, an all-day Canada Day carnival, grocery shopping, family visits, appointments, and a long distance drive to a memorial service and another wake.

The small feedings every 15 minutes gradually changed to larger feedings every 1/2 hour, then to total pig-outs every hour! His soft peeping turned to lusty squawking, and by 14 days he was climbing around exploring, and his sleeping box had to be put inside a small cage to keep him safe when he first woke up.

Most of Peanut's waking hours were spent nestled in my left hand, and for the better part of three weeks my life was lived one-handed. He was curious about every single thing around him, but would squawk and make a beeline for me if I made the slightest move away from him. His legs and feet seemed very weak, and his toes wouldn't grip. I gently massaged them and did little exercises with his toes each day, while he lay on his back in my hand. We practiced and practiced with little toesies wrapped around my baby finger, and when he was 19 days old, he perched shakily without support for the first time. He seemed so proud of himself!!!

On day 21, without warning or fanfare, he took his first short flight. He spread his little wings, launched himself off my hand, and did a face plant on the couch about 4 feet away. Two days later he was flying like a pro!

Diet Considerations for Baby Starlings - Essential for proper growth and long-term health!

In the nest, baby starlings are fed exclusively on a large variety of soft-bodied insects. We can't hope to duplicate this diet, but research over many years has allowed us to come close to the right nutritional balance. The diet that has the best track record of raising healthy babies may be accessed here:

Chapter 3: Hey, Mom!! Look At ME!!

The miracle of flight, and the wonder of water!!

Peanut's initial clumsiness in the air was short-lived, and very quickly his flight became strong and sure. His world gained a whole new dimension ... UP!! His aerobatics were remarkable, not to mention gleeful. His favourite game was to flutter-hop to the top of my head, then launch himself straight up to pick a tiny spider off the ceiling, then drop straight back down to the top of my head to beat and batter his prize to a pulp in my hair. Then he'd soar a victory lap around the room, and slam into my neck where he'd proudly chatter and preen himself.

Suddenly I found myself caught out. The tiny cage that he slept in was ridiculously inadequate for a bouncy energetic young bird. I had obtained materials for a flight cage, but since I was operating under the foolish assumption that his physical development was delayed, I hadn't yet assembled it. So while Peanut slept in his cramped quarters, I spent a night building his new room. By morning I was exhausted and aching in every joint, but the structure was finished and several cleaned branches from my old magnolia tree were installed as perches. I quietly placed his tiny cage inside the new flight, opened its door, and stood back to watch his reaction. He climbed out, froze for a few moments, then set to exploring every square inch of his new digs. He paused now and then to accept a bite of breakfast, and happily poked and pried at every corner for hours.

I ransacked my cupboards, and chose a large shallow enamelled roasting pan with a rounded lip to serve as a bath/swimming pool. I put about an inch of water in it, and placed it in his cage on a towel. He hopped onto the rounded edge, leaned down, and took his first drink of water on his own...then turned away with no further interest. Hmmm - it seemed a demonstration was in order, so my hand went for a swim. I placed my palm flat on the bottom, and wiggled my fingers to splash the water. Peanut raced over to jump on the back of my hand, pecking and dancing and squealing with glee....and quickly decided the splashing water was rather neat. I let my hand go still, he stepped down onto the bottom, gripped my finger with his toes and tentatively stuck his head in the water. He shook it, liked it, and within seconds was shaking and splashing non-stop, and the starling geyser exploded all around and soaked everything in a 5-foot radius. Then he flew to my shoulder...which would forever remain his favorite drying spot...and shook and preened himself dry.

Fun Time in the Bath - ... several times a day!!

Double-click the arrow to watch the fun. __________________________________________________

Chapter 4: Keeping a Flying Toddler Safe - Part 1

....and matching wits with a bird-brain.

Once Peanut was flying and exploring his world, I quickly discovered that a young starling is as curious as a human toddler, and 100 times faster!

Ceiling fans were suddenly a deadly threat, and were turned off forever. Room doors were now a lethal hazard, and were permanently braced open.

Anything larger than Peanut was a playground to be thoroughly explored, poked and prodded, especially anything bearing holes or slots. Computer keyboards became toe-traps, cushions became a source of loose strings and threads and little puffs of stuffing. Phones and electrical appliances offered tempting slots that could be probed with a curious beak, or trap little toes.

Anything smaller than Peanut had to be grabbed, shaken, killed and swallowed if possible, including such offending items as paperclips, coins, cigarette butts, screws, earrings, buttons, elastic bands.....you get the picture? But it's frightening how the mind blocks out the sight of "normal" little things that can result in a panicked trip to the nearest avian vet.

Every day, before Peanut came out of his cage, I combed the house searching for potential threats, and vacuumed the carpets to catch any unseen swallow-able hazards. And yet almost every day I found myself galloping around after him yelling "Peanut drop it drop it drop it!!" while he gleefully swooped just out of my reach, carrying some little "no-no" that I had overlooked.

I thought I was clever when I began keeping a small jar of raisins handy. Any time Peanut found and grabbed some small overlooked object, I would rattle the raisin jar, remove its lid, and call "who wants a treat?". Peanut LOVES raisins, so he would scoot to my shoulder, and drop the stolen object in favour of a treat. Little did I know that he would turn the tables on me! It wasn't long before he began searching for (and always finding) something to grab and fly off with that would induce me to reach for the raisin jar. I didn't twig until I realized he was dropping things in my lap before I even had the lid off the jar. And this before he was even 6 months old!

Never try to match wits with a starling, they'll out-think you every time...you'll find new meaning in the term "Bird Brain".

Pet Bird Safety Tips - Common sense?? ...and MORE!!

Making a home safe for a pet bird is essential, but not as easy as you might think. Please click on the following links for several important bird safety tips - some are common sense, but there are many that might not occur to you until it's too late. "Better safe than sorry" is always the watch-phrase with pet starlings!

Chapter 5: Keeping a Flying Toddler Safe - Part 2

DEADLY DOMESTIC PREDATORS!!!

CATS!!! You gotta love 'em, and I do. I have seven - yes, SEVEN cats. They're all rescues, and sweet, cuddly, loving critters who jockey for position on my spare pillow at night, fight for a turn on my lap, accompany me en masse to the john, and roll on their backs in ecstasy when brushed. They all became instant killing machines at first sight of a little fluttery Peanut trying his wings. CATS AND BIRDS DON'T MIX - Mother Nature has decreed it, mere humans cannot revoke it!

What to do? What do mother birds do? I decided to emulate a mother bird, and used the simple expedient of screaming a warning every time a cat appeared. "CAT!!!" I would scream! Other than sending visitors into peals of laughter, this accomplished two things: Peanut would bolt to my shoulder instantly, and the cat would vanish from the room! To speed up the cats' learning curve, I made judicious use of a spray bottle full of water aimed at disappearing tails.

Two factors were essential in making this scheme work. First, whenever Peanut was out of his cage, my eyes were simply never off him. This was made easier by the fact that his favourite playground was invariably my person. Second, the floor was strictly off limits, and through daily vacuuming I made sure there were no tempting bits or bobs lying on the carpet to attract his curious self. It wasn't long before all the cats learned to make themselves scarce whenever Peanut came out of his cage. Additionally, Peanut developed a healthy awareness of the cats, and will fly to his highest perch and scold them if they're so bold as to walk past his flight cage.

It works for us, but only because of constant watchfulness, and total supervision. In different circumstances, I would strive to lock all cats out of the room in which a bird was free flying, however this is not possible due to the layout of my house.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cats, dogs, and other mammals have pasteurella multocida bacteria in their saliva. It's harmless to them, but WILL KILL a bird in a fairly short time if it gets into their blood stream. It is critical for any bird who has been in the mouth of a cat or other mammal to get antibiotics within 12-24 hours, to have a chance of survival. Small puncture wounds from teeth or claws can close over and be virtually invisible, so even the lack of obvious injury must not preclude immediate treatment.

Author's note: The cat in the picture is NOT as close as he appears, and bolted with a wet bum a few seconds later.

European Starling Personalized Return Address Labels - ....let a little birdie take your mail......

All royalties will go to Earthjustice and the A.S.P.C.A.

The Law According To Peanut

If I like it, it's mine.

If I already have it, it's mine.

If I can take it from you, it's mine.

If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours.

If it looks like mine, it's mine.

If I saw it first, it's mine.

If you have something and you put it down, it's mine.

If I don't want it anymore, it's yours.

If it can be eaten, it's mine.

If you are eating it, it's mine.

If it tastes good, it's mine ALL mine.

If it doesn't taste good, it's yours.

Chapter 6: Cagebuilding 101

...how NOT to do it.

With all the little day-to-day hazards in a home, not to mention 7 cats of varying ages and energy levels, Peanut could not be allowed free reign of the house except during the times I could give him my undivided attention. Come to think of it, that was identical to the situation when my kids were babies. *grin*

A cage was essential, but it had to be large enough for him to fly around and play in when he had to be in his "room". My spare desktop was cleared off, and gave me a 3' wide by 28" deep space, and I figured a 4' height would be manageable for cleaning, etc. I wished it could be larger, but space and funds were limited. I innocently drew up plans, bought a quantity of 2X1 lumber and 1/2" wire mesh hardware cloth, a couple of boxes of wood screws, some brass door hardware, small steel angles, and a staple gun. I already owned a saw, a drill, and a cupboard full of hand tools. I was all set!!

With naive confidence I turned my livingroom into an ersatz workshop, and spent the next 12 hours through the night losing my christianity along with several inches of skin and a quart or two of blood. Don't let anybody tell you that a 3' x 30' roll of wire mesh is an inanimate object! It has a life of its own, and IT IS EVIL! It's satanically clever and totally unpredictable. Just when you think you've safely braced loose edges, and confidently ply the wire snips, its nether section will literally spring at you like an unseen jackal and leave a row of punctures down the back of your leg. As you bounce around screaming and holding your leg, it will snicker and slip a small section of itself under your dancing feet. While you're lying on the floor in a fetal position whimpering and holding your bloody feet, it quietly re-rolls itself and lies in wait for the next opportunity to attack. *Watch for Steven King's next book "Satan's Mesh".*

As daylight arrived, I was hurting and hobbling, feet and hands wrapped in blood-soaked gauze, but I was done, and Peanut's funhouse was ready. I covered the bottom with vinyl shelf liner, then several thicknesses of newspaper. Branches from my magnolia tree, well cleaned, made perfect perches to help exercise little feet. Leafy silk vines provided peek-a-boo places, along with a basket of rough stones and jingly whiffle balls. A bouquet of newspaper strips was hung for fun, and Peanut was turned loose inside to spend hours exploring happily.

It remains his favourite place to be, second only to being on me.

Cage Building Tips - ... for safety and convenience.

In a perfect world, pet birds could fly free in our homes all the time. But safety factors dictate otherwise, so a cage for a pet bird is as necessary as a playpen for a baby. A cage should NEVER be a prison, but a safe and happy place your bird considers his own where he can eat, play, rest or sleep as he feels inclined. Here are a few things to keep in mind when building, or even buying, a cage for your pet starling or any other bird.

  1. Size - It should be as large as space and funds permit. At the very least it must allow the bird to fly between perches.
  2. Bar Spacing - The bar or mesh spacing must be small enough to prevent the bird getting his head stuck. For starlings, this should be no more than 1/2"-5/8". This spacing applies also to gaps around doors, trays or feeders.
  3. Wood - Starlings do not chew like parrots do, so a wood frame is fine. However, some freshly milled woods may still be giving off aromatics which can be dangerous to a bird's sensitive respiratory system. Check lumber carefully before buying it to make sure there are no weeping spots, or strong smells.
  4. Wire Mesh - Most wire mesh is galvanized. Again, starlings are not chewers, so this is less of a problem than it would be with parrots. However, galvanized wire can flake off bits of zinc which can be pecked up and swallowed by a curious starling, possibly leading to zinc toxicity and associated health problems. Galvanized wire mesh should be scrubbed and washed down regularly to avoid a buildup that can flake off.
  5. Staples - The easiest way to attach wire mesh to a wood frame is with a staple gun, and if done properly it is strong and secure. Keep in mind that starlings' beaks are designed for probing and prying. ALL staple fasteners should be on the OUTSIDE of the wood frame.
  6. Wood Coating - For convenient cleanup of food or poop, the wood frame can be coated with urethane or similar material - remember, starlings do not chew. However, it's very important that any such coating be thoroughly dried/cured and NO LONGER GIVING OFF ANY ODOR before the bird is allowed into the cage.
  7. Door Size - The main door of the cage should be large enough that you can get inside the cage yourself - even just your upper body. This will ensure your continuing sanity when cleaning the cage or replacing hanging toys.
  8. Door Style - The guillotine style doors that are standard on most purchased cages can be a nuisance at best, and a hazard at worst. A clever starling can pry up this type of door and leave the cage when you're not there, exposing him to the household dangers that the cage is meant to protect him from. It's essential that a guillotine door be securely fastened with a clip - even something like a clothespin can work. Wire twist ties are never a good idea, as a starling can break off and swallow them. A draw-bridge style door is safer, but inconvenient for you. Consider a side-hinged door - safe, and also convenient.
  9. Substrate - The best substrate for the cage bottom is a few sheets of ordinary newspaper. It's cheap, readily available and tends to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Best of all it allows you to monitor your bird's droppings daily, which is VERY important as it can allow you to spot a health problem before any symptoms are evident in the bird.
  10. Perches - Commercial cages generally come with hard dowel perches. THROW THEM OUT! They are bad for a bird's feet. PERIOD! If you're in doubt, just climb up and down a round-runged ladder in your bare feet. Natural branches, preferably with some bark still attached, well cleaned, make the best and most natural perches. The variation in diameter helps keep a bird's feet and toes properly exercised, and the roughness can even help keep toenails worn down.
  11. Perches cont'd - NEVER use sandpaper sleeves on perches - they are very hard on a bird's feet, and can cause foot problems with continued use. Concrete pedicure perches, especially contoured ones, can be very helpful in keeping starling toenails worn down, and do not cause foot problems when provided in conjunction with natural branch perches.
  12. More Perches - Tightly-braided soft cotton rope can provide a safe and fun swing-type perch for starlings. It's necessary to check them regularly to make certain there are no loose threads or frayed areas that the bird could catch a toenail in and wrench a toe or leg. Rough rope like jute or sisal is not recommended, as it has stiff spiky fibres that can be hard on the feet, or worse - pulled off and swallowed.

Safe & Unsafe Woods & Plants - ...for building, or decorating, the cage.

Check the following links to find out which woods are safe for cage frames and perches, and which plants are safe for birds to play with. These lists are generally compiled with parrots in mind, but they're equally useful for starlings and other softbill birds.

The Starling Shop - Merchandise for Starling Lovers

Visit the Starling Shop to browse through our unique and attractive merchandise designed especially for starling lovers. All royalties from any purchases through this lens will go to Earthjustice and the A.S.P.C.A.

Must-read books for starling lovers.

Arnie the Darling Starling
Arnie the Darling Starling

The true story of the author's life with the starling she rescued and raised, and who wouldn't leave. Their adventures together make for a terrific read.

 
Arnie and a House Full of Company
Arnie and a House Full of Company

The sequel to Arnie the Darling Starling.

 
Mrs. Starling's Problem
Mrs. Starling's Problem

Children's fiction. After having settled her eggs in a new nest, Mrs. Starling finds that she has grown too fat to get into the nest to feed her growing chicks.

 
Enslaved by Ducks
Enslaved by Ducks

The truth about animal ownership - and who really owns whom. A hilarious and heartwarming true account of the author's grudging acceptance of one animal after another into his home.

 
Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds
Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds

An absolutely wonderful book about life with a pet sparrow ... and then another ... and another.. Very well written - you'll be crying one minute, then laughing your head off the next.

 

More must-read books

Peepers the Talking Starling
Peepers the Talking Starling

A thoroughly delightful true story about the author's life with her beloved pet starling.

 
Sold for a Farthing
Sold for a Farthing

The remarkable biography of a little sparrow, from the cradle to the grave.

 
Adam's Starling (Red Flag)
Adam's Starling (Red Flag)

Children's fiction. The story of an unhappy little boy whose life is changed by a scruffy little starling.

 
Animals in the Family: Tales of Our Household Menagerie
Animals in the Family: Tales of Our Household Menagerie

A wonderful, humorous true account of one family's adventures in caring for a huge assortment of critters, both domestic and wild. Offers insights into animal care and behavior, including advice about caring for orphans.

 

Science and Nature Books Relating to Starlings and Other Bird-brains - ...for those who are obsessed...

The Starling
The Starling

315 page hardcover book with dust jacket, published in 1984 by Oxford University Press.This is a comprehensive, well researched, fully indexed educational text about the European Starling, and a veritable bible for those who are passionate about these amazing birds.

 
Starlings and Mynas
Starlings and Mynas

The definitive guide to all 114 members of the starling family. It offers extensive information about identification, ecology, and behavior, complemented by thirty-two color plates and distribution maps. The authors reexamine the classification of starlings in the light of up-to-date knowledge of the birds' ecology and behavior. They also review the birds' fascinating interactions with humans, explaining how starlings and mynas have been scorned as pests, used for food, valued as pets and as mimics, and even had religious significance in different parts of the world.

 
Silent Spring
Silent Spring

The landmark classic that shattered societal complacency, and touched off the environmental movement.

 
Teaching Your Bird to Talk
Teaching Your Bird to Talk

An easy-to-follow guide to communicating with your bird, and understanding what your bird is trying to communicate to you. Contains a chapter on starlings and other softbills.

 
Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays

Examines the lives and behaviors of the highly intelligent members of the crow family, corvids, and includes 61 dramatic images from the world's top nature photographers

 

Thanks for visiting! If you have a pet starling, know a pet starling, or just love watching these amazing birds, please let me know what you think of my lens. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them. If there's a particular topic you'd like covered in this lens, just ask! Check back often, as I'll be continuing to add chapters to the Peanut saga, and information about proper care of pet starlings, as time permits.

Please note: If you are not a fan of European Starlings, please don't post your negative propaganda here. We've heard it before, and it won't be allowed to remain in this guestbook.

Starling Lovers' Comments - ... or questions???

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    • profile image

      Samantha 15 months ago

      Beautiful story, I was sent over by the wonderful site "starlingtalk.com" and I'm so glad I found this. I have two little starlings I found under a bush, Petrie is 10 days and Miley is 13 days. It's so exciting (and scary) to see what I have in store for me. They both have captured my heart. If possible, we would love an update on peanut. Thanks again

    • profile image

      sandra in Texas 2 years ago

      great site. Helped me so much with Strawberry, the recent addition to our family. Right now she's on top of her cage. Our cat is in it's bed and the pit bull dog, a really mellow fellow is sleeping by the door.

    • profile image

      Lisa 2 years ago

      Just found your story. We have our own perpetual toddler... Pinkie Doodle is about 4-1/2 mos old. I found her in a carwash when she was about a day or two old. Her nest had been power washed down from the rafters. Her siblings were already dead :( we have apparently imprinted with her and she is now our midlife " child". Our kids are grown so she keeps us entertained. Pinkie goes almost everywhere with us. She is a regular favorite at a bookstore I frequent. We love her very much and its so nice to read about others who have been blessed with one of Mother Natures most awesome gifts.

    • profile image

      glynisg 4 years ago

      The Law According To Peanut - really made me laugh! Such a lovely lens!

    • profile image

      pattilar 5 years ago

      My 2 yr old starling is starting to lose feathers a lot...some of his face around bill is worse. He is still on soaked dry dogfood(that's all he will eat as he was raised on this)...also eats peaches, oranges, blueberries,but not much else. what can I do to help him along with new feathers or will they come by themselves?????

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      I like birds! In fact, I was out twice today taking photos of birds. They are a joy to watch. I came back to bless this lens.

    • profile image

      scott-novy-7 5 years ago

      This makes me want a starling! It seems like a lot of work but seems like he gives you fun ^^

    • FionaCarroll profile image

      Fiona Carroll 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      The things we do for love! Such a charming strory about such an unlikely romance.

    • profile image

      pattilar 5 years ago

      I have a 2 yr old starling Ive raised since day old. His beak is very very long, yellow towards the head and turned black towards tip. I know I need to trim but as we have no bird vets here, I need help. I have watched the video, big help but both up and lower beaks are that long.....Help

    • profile image

      dawn-sheehan-ryan 5 years ago

      What an awesome page!! I just literally stumbled on it and I love Peanut's story!! We have two Starlings - they are 1 month old and I am so excited to begin this new adventure! We also have 5 rescue cats...so reading your suggestions was awesome!! Here is a link to Burt and Ernie's photo journal https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.37538185...

      Thanks for sharing your story!!

      Dawn

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      this is a nice lens great work

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      A touching love story. Everyone should have a Peanut to teach the important things in life. Thank you for having a such a big heart and compatible intelligence when it comes to appreciating the gifts that fly into your soul. *Blessed*

    • FunNaturePhotog profile image

      FunNaturePhotog 5 years ago

      A delightful, heart-warming story and lens! I can't say I've known any starlings personally (they tend to be a little shy about coming to the feeders) but I've gotten attached to an assortment of birds such as a white pigeon, a legion of chickadees, and a nuthatch that eats out of my hand. Not to mention a succession of squirrels. We have lots to learn from our feathered and furry friends!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Birds are fantastic creatures. I've been taking photos of birds for almost two years. The more I watch them, the more fascinated I become. Thank you for making this wonderful lens.

    • profile image

      Masooma 6 years ago

      It is so delightful, your Peanut Tales!!! So warm and what a wonderful sense of humour. It's been ages since I read so much without shifting my eyes an inch. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      This is the most wonderful lens. Your Peanut tales had me alternately misty with emotion and laughing hysterically. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read more.

    • wilddove6 profile image

      wilddove6 7 years ago

      Very nice, personal and informative lens!

      I worked for years at a wildlife rehabilitation centre and some of our best "clients" were the starlings...always so funny, and always ready to eat :) Lovely birds and very intelligent!

      Thanks for putting in a good word for them :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Ooohhh no I came across a nest with six in it !!!. I went to my truck one mourning to fire it up and heard churping in an old truck parked beside it. Turns out the truck had come in on a transporter that mourning from around 200 km away. So here we go again, I now have a very loud house. But its all good all are doing fine and my girls love em

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I need a photograph of starling "anting" -- rubbing itself -- with scented materials. I would like a shot of starling using lemon or lime slice, which they are reported to use. I will travel to film this if anyone can help.

      Thanks.

      weldonpaul@hotmail.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I rescued peeps from my neighbors foyer when he was no more than 1-2 weeks old. He was just getting feathers and there was no sight of his mother, so I took him home with me, hoping I could nurse him back to life. He was tiny and very frail. I smashed up dog as a paste and fed it to him with the end of a straw for the first 2 days. We graduated to cat food that I gave to him on my finger, while he sat with his beak wide open. Two months later he is still with me, free to fly, but he comes home every couple of hours to eat.

      Heartbreak now--he has been out of sight for 2 days now, and I miss my buddy so much. Do you know if he will return? I have spent 2 full days calling for him, but he is not returning. I hope pray he is safe and maybe with a mate. I would love for him to come home asap, as it is heartbreaking.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Had a starling get lose in my apartment twice thjs spring each time i was able to capture the bird and release them outside

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      hi, just discovered your page along with the starling care page. thank god! i was plant shopping the other day and i found two baby starlings of different ages on the ground. they had fallen from the rafter beams, way above the outdoor plant area of walmart. there was no way to return them to the nests, so i popped both in my pockets and headed home. the eldest baby did not survive the night. i think he succomed to exposure from the cold, wet ground and no amount of warmth or emergency hydration or warming would have saved him. the youngest, aka "floyd", about a week old is hearty, healthy and a voracious eater. i mixed up the food that was suggested and have been feeding him every 20 minutes or so morning until the evening.

      how do i know when he is full, how much do i feed him each feeding? i don't want him to burst ;-)

      i am keeping him warm and safe from harm, mostlly in my hand next to my chest, when he is not in his cage, warmed with heating pad and soft bedding materia

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Ah, what a lovely story. Lensrolled to St Tiggy iwnkles (the biggest wildlife hospital in the world) and Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Excellent Lens. 5*

      If you get a chance check out my Instant Stress Management lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      well, just getting to know starlings from a family that is taking up residence in our backyard. I'm curious if anyone knows why they are surrounding my pool with what looks like bird poop or something like it is a white sack. they seem to systematically place them around the pool edge as if marking the boundary out. I have to keep washing them off the and they come right back. not a big deal but interested in what they might be doing. thanks for any reply.

    • purplelady profile image

      purplelady 8 years ago

      What a great lens. Hadn't found it before today when I discovered Seth Godin's PDF on getting traffic (Money for nothing....and your clicks for free). In that great (as Seth always writes) PDF, he referenced your lens; so I had to check it out. So glad I did; I loved reading through it and getting to know Peanut. The Law According to Peanut is priceless. Actually it reminded me of most 2 year olds and come to think of it I can think of some adults of whom it also reminds me.

      5 Starlings and a Fave for your lens.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      This lens is an amazing read. Absolutely captures the nature of starlings, and of the people who love them! Very, very good writing.

      I recently rescued 2 baby starlings from a parking lot. They were approximately 12 days old, and one of them had a badly broken leg. No sign of nest or parent, and neither bird could stand up on its own. No way they could survive if I left them.

      I splinted the broken leg, Googled proper nutrition for starlings, and off we went on the grand adventure of raising them to adulthood.

      They are now four weeks old and into everything. Both fly quite well, and the broken leg is healing, though it is still in a "walking cast". The bird has full use of the leg, though it will always be a bit crooked.

      Keeping them as housepets is not possible, so I built them a huge outdoor aviary that allows them to socialize with wild starlings from the neighborhood. I can only hope my efforts allow them some normalcy as free birds some day.

      Thanks for great info!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Great lens!

      5* and lensrool to The European Starling.

      Lizzy

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Wow, a wonderful story, beautifully told. Our Peanut was a mockingbird, found and raised the same as yours. Our hearts were gone when he arrived and everything changed as we knew it. The mocker went where we did and nothing was planned or executed without Peanut's consideration or involvement. "P" was with us for 12 years, an ejected, crippled nestling, but special all the same; not an evening passed without a song. Now I sit looking out to the aviary where 10 more mockingbird babies are eating, sleeping, growing; we volunteer as rehabbers now, all for the love of one mocker. Now over seventy releases to our credit, each unique and taking little bits of our love for Peanut back into nature...an yes, they come back to visit, jays especially. Checked in to help a friend learn to raise some orphaned Mynas in the Florida Keys...what a nice surprise to find your page and helpful, thoughtful, information. Thank you, Jean

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      i have been hand rearing a baby starling now for almost a week and hes doing great found him outside half dead, im feeding him every 3 hours at the moment but i am eager to know about natural release, when should i let him go, where and how do i prepare him to go back to the wild?? i live in south wales britain, thankyou, any advice would be fantastic!

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      PioneerMarketer 9 years ago

      Great site, It is amazing what little I knew about the bird I see EVERYDAY where I live! FANTASTIC! Here is one of my Lens Check it out http://www.squidoo.com/cheaptraveling

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Hey!

      Great post, this is really valuable and nostalgic information about starling. It looking so nice and more valuable information about starlings.

      I hope you have a chance to see my interesting lens aboutswimming pool services

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I love your story and your devotion to your little friend. How wonderful that you both have brought such joy to each other's life! I am especially impressed that you have manged to effect a truce between your bird buddy and the cats that own you (as all cats must)! Thanks!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      How lovely my visit to your lens has become. Thank you for your caring for birds. I have a lovebird that flies free inside my house. Oh my such a presence is he! His spirit is indeed as BIG as the house itself. I never thought of birds as having such personalities but I am enlightened now, now I know.

      Fantasy Art Woman|Beautiful Women Goddess Art:

      https://hubpages.com/art/kathysart

      Aloha, Kathy

      PS FIVE HUGE STARS of course!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      How lovely my visit to your lens has become. Thank you for your caring for birds. I have a lovebird that flies free inside my house. Oh my such a presence is he! His spirit is indeed as BIG as the house itself. I never thought of birds as having such personalities but I am enlightened now, now I know.

      Fantasy Art Woman|Beautiful Women Goddess Art:

      https://hubpages.com/art/kathysart

      Aloha, Kathy

      PS FIVE HUGE STARS of course!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      How lovely my visit to your lens has become. Thank you for your caring for birds. I have a lovebird that flies free inside my house. Oh my such a presence is he! His spirit is indeed as BIG as the house itself. I never thought of birds as having such personalities but I am enlightened now, now I know.

      Fantasy Art Woman|Beautiful Women Goddess Art:

      https://hubpages.com/art/kathysart

      Aloha, Kathy

      PS FIVE HUGE STARS of course!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      How lovely my visit to your lens has become. Thank you for your caring for birds. I have a lovebird that flies free inside my house. Oh my such a presence is he! His spirit is indeed as BIG as the house itself. I never thought of birds as having such personalities but I am enlightened now, now I know.

      Fantasy Art Woman|Beautiful Women Goddess Art:

      https://hubpages.com/art/kathysart

      Aloha, Kathy

      PS FIVE HUGE STARS of course!

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      jeanineguidry 9 years ago

      What a great lens, and what a great story! Thank you so much for sharing Peanut's story, and I will be checking back regularly for updates.

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      thomasz 9 years ago

      Nice lens. Great info. It's nice when these birds sing to you.

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      fledgling 9 years ago

      Wonderful! you are also the first person I have come across, that knows about "hope is a thing with feathers" and "Arnie the darling starling" will have to get the sequel. I highly recommend "That Quail Robert" An absolutely charming story about a hand raised Bob White quail and the family that loved Robert. A must read! Kudos to you!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I read every word and I want to congratulate you on your win. I am a lover of birds and other small creatures and have come to the rescue of many. I was once given an Audio Book - Field Guide to Bird Songs. I'm not surprised that the starling could be taught to speak. Thank you for putting this lens together it was truly enjoyable! If you have time after celebrating your victory please check out my lens. I have an amazing JUKEBOX you might enjoy. 5*, Lensroll and Favorite.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Boy, this is good stuffs!

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 9 years ago

      I love, love, love your lens! I used to raise starlings, and I miss them dearly! Hubby's not too keen on the whole process...

      I found your lens from Seth's ebook, Unique, Useful, and Updated.

      Awesome to meet you!

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      I Love it all.....

      Thank you so much.........I feel I never get enough of learning about different types of Birds...........God's beautiful

      creation in birds are so wonderful.......

      People really need to take the time and get to know

      our feathered friends in every way..

      Thank you for sharing.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 9 years ago

      Very inspiring Peanut's story. We humans really learned a lot from the animals on how to deal with every challenges of life in the best way we can. Definitely, a 5 stars for you!

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      From the moment the first Starling came into my home my heart was theirs.I rehab birds for re-release but with Starlings this is often not possible,in most cases it would be seen as a failure but not so with Starlings.

      Look at things you have never stopped to see and find the true beauty in life.

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      Ms_Appleseed 9 years ago

      What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing Peanut with us all. He (and the cats) are famous! The information on bird considerations is also very interesting! Come by and say Hey if you get a minute.

    • Karendelac profile image

      Karendelac 9 years ago

      5 Stars for this great site.

      I have raised countless starlings successfully so I especially loved Peanut's story.

      Please visit and give me feedback on what you think of this brand new Squidoo Bird Rescue site

      http://www.squidoo.com/birdrescue/

    • CliveAnderson LM profile image

      CliveAnderson LM 10 years ago

      Thank you for bringing this lens to my Free To Post Ads Forum. It will make a great addition to the New Squidoo Zone there. This is a beautiful lens with a great subject matter and presentation. I will see Starlings in a different light from now on. 5 stars... Clive Anderson.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      We have 2 Starlings,1 House Sparrow.Ive worked with all sorts of pet birds and never met any as smart and funny as these 3.They do compete on some levels with Natives but rarely do Bluebirds etc nest in the weird places these guys do.They also do farmers a great service eradicating harmful insects.

    • Warner Carter profile image

      Warner Carter 10 years ago

      Love your lens

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      I raise 5 starlings from 6 days old now over 23 days. I am not sure if I should keep them or let them fly.

      what do you think? I main concern is having them survive if I let them go. Since they were rescude so young I don't know if they learned the skills to survive. I don't want them to die.

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      EmailGuru 10 years ago

      I'm into pets too. Betta Fish Care

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      I love peanuts law. My starling will be 2 in June and from that law I now know that his personality is not unique. It seems to be typical of all starlings. It describes my starling exactly. I always thought he was ust one spoiled little boy. You gotta love em.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Excellent story!!

      I have my own Starling named "Rocky" (cause she was a fighter).I wish I had known at the time when Rocky was a baby that I would be keeping her(dislocated wing)I sure missed out on having her bond to me like Peanut has to you.Keep us updated!

      Rhonda Rocky from Canada

    • ChristopherScot1 profile image

      ChristopherScot1 10 years ago

      Great lens and congrats on taking 2nd place.

      squidoo.com/adayofhope/

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      thewordyogi 10 years ago

      Quimby and I became parents for a days-old baby starling four years ago. His name is NO (you can guess why). NO went to live with a bird-less friend who fell in love with him at six months. He enjoys a very nice life, but we both still miss him at times. Thanks for sharing Peanut! Joan

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      destiny911 10 years ago

      Your writing style brought this lovely story alive ... My favorite part = "Satan's Mesh". I'm still holding my sides!

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      Birdiejaworski 10 years ago

      Gorgeous lens! Thanks for joining the Birds of a Feather group. I will feature you next week (beginning april 28) as our group Lens of the Week.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Fortunatley,I have been aquainted with your postings on the network,which have helped me with my rescued starling (Justa) and made me smile at the way these amazing wild birds come to be unconditionally loved by myself as well as so many other people... Your writing and videos are great!

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 10 years ago

      Hi, this lens is highly informative and wonderfully written! You are welcome to submit it to my group Nature and Environment! I voted 5*s for you. Please visit my lenses if you have time! Enjoy your weekend!

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      oddsend03 10 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Great story Hi Peanut

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      Redhead 10 years ago

      Congratulation on the great almost first place finish in the Lens of the Year Contest. And I suggest that everybody that needs a good laugh read Ronni's book, The Bittn Capers. By the time I was done I had tears running down my cheeks!

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      Redhead 10 years ago

      Congratulations on the super finish in the Lens/Year contest! Can't wait for more chapters. Your book THE BITTN CAPERS made me laugh 'til tears ran down my cheeks!! It is a must read for anyone who needs a smile to brighten their day.

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      Sutree 10 years ago

      What a great read! I never would have thought of a starling as a pet but Peanut sounds like lots of fun.

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      Mumsie 10 years ago

      Maureen here in Tasmania - This is a fantastic page, sending best wishes from one Starling Mum to another. Thank you for helping my Daughter and Son in Law so much. We think eight is enough, but who knows what next spring will bring - love from the Mumsie to Saffy the starling in Tassie Australia

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Everything I read was great! I raised a starling and can really relate. Wish I had all this info then! Keep up the good work and tell Peanuts "Hi".

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Great job, Ronni and Peanut! Positively awesome.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I'm just curous. Where are you getting your support from? You lens is competing for the top "Lens of the Year" and yet you only have one lens and you have 112 5 star ratings. You must have the greatest support group on Squidoo...

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Great story about Peanut. I raised a starling and he surprised me one day by unleashing a whole repertoire of words and complete sentences, including the tone out on my volunteer firefighter pager. I've raised/had all kinds of wild and domestic birds, and none have ever compared to a starling.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Have one of my own. Your story is so cute! Everything so true. Will look forward to the next chapters.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Ronni, Skeeter and I absolutely loved Peanut's tale. I don't understand how these little magical birds worm their way so deep into your heart and soul, but they do. Once you have been owned by a starling, you will never again prefer any other type of bird!

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      I just loved reading about Peanut! My wonderful Miss Pepito is just as delightful as ever at 6 years old this April Your writing completely captures the wonderful personality and antics of the starling. Lucky Peanut! Lucky you! Thanks for writing it!

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      tweetiebyrd1 10 years ago

      Pue hooked me up w/ this site and "Peanut" what an awesome quest. Have totally enjoyed your venture and learned a lot as well. This is such a GREAT, moving, heart felt story. Thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of us. Easy to see you two share many Blessings

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      laenglish 10 years ago

      Loved your story. I hope more people come to realize how special Starlings are from your story. I just love my Tweeters who will turn two years old this May and has stolen my heart. I also loved the starling sweatshirt, coffee mug, and note cards I ordered from you last Christmas. l.a.e

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      What a wonderful story. All people who are owned by a starling can relate.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Delightful heartwarming story Ronni. Brought back so many memories of when Speckie was found then raised to be the beautiful Starling girl she is today. Peanut has a unique relationship with you, one we wish will last for years of joy to the both of you.

      Warmest feathered hugs.

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      An_Animal_Lover 10 years ago

      WOW!!! Really amazing lens! Great job! Pitty I can only give you 5 stars. I am adding you to my lens roll.

    • perriwynkle profile image

      perriwynkle 10 years ago

      What a wonderful site. Peanut is adorible. My friend Puetter, who also has a recued starling (Madison)

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      Lizalee 10 years ago

      I've got 8 starlings and I love them all so much, I don't know what my life would be like without them. Thanks for such a great GREAT (did I mention GREAT) site and all the best in the top 100 contest!

      love from Liza xxxx

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      Lizalee 10 years ago

      I've got 8 starlings and I love them all so much, I don't know what my life would be like without them. Thanks for such a great GREAT (did I mention GREAT) site and all the best in the top 100 contest!

      love from Liza xxxx

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      Samm 10 years ago

      You're amazing Ronni..thanks for the story!

      Samm

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      Spunki 10 years ago

      OH Ronni, this site is awesome!! love reading and reading Peanuts adventures. You have put a lot of time

      work and love into this and is truly wonderful!!

      Damie,Bonnie's Marley, too, sends hugs and wing waves and me, too.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Your story about building Peanut's cage is too funny! The cage is nothing short of amazing, despite the blood and faith you may have temporarily lost during its construction.

      Big Hugs,

      Jess, Pip and Ptichka

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      anamcara 10 years ago

      This is truly a page worthy of the high ranking it recently received, I wish I could vote for it again (I tried), I also wished it was in the list of lens of the day, on the current 'vote for' list!! With love to Peanut from Jack, Ted and Chook in Australia

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 10 years ago from Vancouver

      Great story! You have inspired me to type out my experience of successfully raising an orphaned Goldfinch. I love the way you used Squidoo to publish it for all of us to enjoy.

      Great work!

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      enerij 10 years ago

      Excellent site Ronni!

      Especially like 'the law according to Peanut'.

      Poops and I thank you for your help over the years.

      Poops turned 3 in June '06.

      www.poops.info

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      Redhead 10 years ago

      I NEED a copy of Peanut's Law...so I can post it at my house. That way visitors will understand the rules as written by a Starling...Keep up the wonderful writing, can't wait for the next chapter....Sharon, TP and BJ

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      katesmith 10 years ago

      Peanut is one lucky birdie to have been raised by Ronni. I loved reading Peanut's story - it captured the uniqueness and charm of raising a starling. Excellent work, Ronni. Your devotion is an inspiration.

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      one_n2000 10 years ago

      Very cool I have had the honour of having Peanut over for dinner when he was quite young. He's a cutie.

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      bonblue 10 years ago

      Ronni, Loved reading your story about Peanut, also thought that it gave a lot of helpful information on how to save and raise a baby starling. Look forward to reading more adventures . I give this article a high 5, Bonnie

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      c1jackie 10 years ago

      Way to go Ronni! Beautifully written, with accurate information. I loved it, and Peanuts video is so much fun, with the music working perfectly with the action.

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      marie 10 years ago

      Great page Ronni! I love it! Especially the bird bath movie and the baby pictures. Can't wait for the new chapters.

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      Jazicat 10 years ago

      I love Peanut's Lens! After all you have done to help so many of starling parents it is great to learn more about Peanut. I can't wait to read more!

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      VictoriaD 10 years ago

      Peanut's fun and educational Lens will capture many people's hearts as they read about the joys of living with one of these incredibly intelligent birds. Wonderful job, Ronni! I've read the entire Lens to my three Starling Brats, and we can hardly wait for more chapters in Peanut's endearing story.

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      Indica 10 years ago

      I love Peanuts story! He is so cute. How fun are these little squirts! I have 2 starlings, and love them to pieces, my favorite of all birds. I can't believe they make starling t-shirts, I must order one! :-) Thanks for sharing Peanut with us.

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      Redhead 10 years ago

      I love the video. I can't wait for the next chapter in Peanut's life, kinda like the old Saturday serial movies, but a lot happier. TP, my little Starling gives this lens 10 STARS, and she says she wants to play with Peanut in the bathtub!

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      anamcara 10 years ago

      This is one FANTASTIC page - it's truly captured the love and devotion and the FUN of raising a starling. Ronni has helped me SO many times over the last 2 years with the raising of my own starlings Jack and Ted here in Australia. WONDERFUL BRILLIANT - 5 STARS!!!!

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      WhiteFalconArts 10 years ago

      This reminds me of when I raised two baby robins(at separate times.I had many of the same experiences you had. They long ago flew off to live with other robins, but my heart squeezes and my eyes tear up when I remember them. So much affection, loyalty and love! I'll never forget my orphaned birds.

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      Laura15SP 10 years ago

      Thank you for your lovely story and video! I am very happy to have "met" Peanut and learned a little bit about his adventuous life. I look forward to future chapters.