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Angry Bird! Bathing Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be!

Angry Bird! Brancher Starling Rescued From Water A Little Too Deep!  pic Debi Dodge

This Boulder Brancher Starling was bathing with a parent. It got in over its head and had to be rescued with a dustpan. Then it was a tad displeased as it shook itself dry. Angry Bird!

The Starling is not a rare bird, but this ones expression is priceless.

The Common Starling Brancher: A Stage of Transformation

The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a bird renowned for its iridescent plumage, complex vocalizations, and impressive adaptability. Among the various stages of its life cycle, the “brancher” phase is a particularly fascinating and crucial period of development.

What is a Brancher?

A brancher is a term used to describe young birds that have left the nest but are not yet fully capable of sustained flight. During this stage, common starling branchers can be seen hopping from branch to branch, developing their flight muscles, and honing their survival skills. This period is marked by both vulnerability and rapid growth, as these fledglings transition from the safety of the nest to the broader world around them.

Characteristics of Common Starling Branchers

1. Appearance**:
Common starling branchers typically have less vibrant plumage compared to adults. Their feathers are usually more muted, often displaying a brownish hue with speckles. As they mature, their feathers will become glossier and more iridescent, characteristic of adult starlings.

2. Behavior**:
During the brancher stage, young starlings exhibit exploratory behavior. They practice flying short distances, often fluttering awkwardly between branches. This is a critical time for them to develop coordination and strength in their wings. Additionally, branchers are highly vocal, calling out frequently to their parents for food and guidance.

3. Dependency**:
Despite leaving the nest, branchers remain dependent on their parents for food and protection. Adult starlings continue to feed their young, teaching them how to forage and recognize potential food sources. This period of parental care ensures that the fledglings receive the necessary nutrition and learn essential survival skills.

The Importance of the Brancher Stage

The brancher stage is crucial for the survival and future success of common starlings. It serves several important functions:

– Muscle Development**: Hopping between branches and practicing flight helps young starlings develop the necessary muscle strength for sustained flight.
– Skill Acquisition**: Branchers learn vital skills such as foraging, recognizing predators, and navigating their environment.
– Social Learning**: During this stage, young starlings also start to learn social behaviors from their parents and other flock members. This includes vocalizations, flock dynamics, and cooperative behaviors.

Challenges Faced by Branchers

While the brancher stage is essential for development, it is also fraught with challenges. Predation is a significant risk, as branchers are more exposed and less capable of evading predators. Additionally, harsh weather conditions and scarcity of food can impact their survival rates.

The brancher stage of the common starling is a period of immense transformation and growth. These fledglings, with their awkward yet determined movements, embody the resilience and adaptability of their species. By observing and understanding this stage, we gain insight into the life cycle of common starlings and the delicate balance of nature that supports their development.

As these young birds take their first tentative flights, they remind us of the remarkable journey from dependence to independence, a journey that resonates with the broader rhythms of life itself.

Leonard Frieling Senior Attorney Emeritus
  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.

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