Starlings on sheep,

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Starlings on sheep,
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2013 11:47:00 +1000

Pulled up at Murrays Corner today and was getting the thermos out of the rear of the car when I had the feeling I was being watched, Returned to front door and was assailed by a pungent, sour smell. Glanced around and 15 metres away upwind from me were three ferine sheep, pitiful looking creatures with long, straggly wool touching the ground. Their fleece was polluted with dried vegetable matter and heavily fouled about their nether regions. No doubt, come warmer weather, they’ll be fly-struck, assuming the Sheep Blowfly Lucillia cuprina is prevalent in that region.

I waved by arm suddenly in the direction of the sheep to be rid of them and they turned and trotted away. It was then that I noticed three or four Common Starlings clinging to the log wool on the sheep’s flanks; no doubt feeding on a excess of ectoparasites. With just a touch of imagination I visualised oxpeckers riding along on the big herbivores of the African savannah.

Should I have been surprised to see Common Starlings at Murrays Corner given the altitude and time of year?


John K. Layton.



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