One gloomy afternoon I was waiting for the bus outside Dublin airport. I had neglected to travel adequately armed with sandwiches and finding nothing to suit me in the airport, decided the situation was dire enough to merit an enormous bag of crisps
So there I was merrily munching away when I heard a rather angry chirping coming from my left. I looked down to see a starling hoping from one spindly leg to the other, giving me side long glances as he did.
I stood up and checked around, had I accidentally sat on the poor birds nest wiping out it’s whole family with one swoop in my crispy obliviousness. No there were no other birds around just this tiny highly indignant one.
I didn’t know what this birds problem was, he looked irritated yet he was singing and twirling, almost dancing in front of me. I looked around for other witnesses, was I the chosen one, was this bird so entranced by my presence he was moved to perform for me?
I’m pretty sure crisps are not recommended items on the bird food pyramid but I wanted to give him some token for all his efforts so I threw him a piece.
Then it became clear what the display was for, I was no chosen bird icon, my feathery friend was simply after some salty goodness.
He guzzled down the crisp and then ramped up his performance to the max, he pulled out all the hits, mobile phone tunes, other song birds signature tunes, he gave it his all!
I was impressed but also a bit self-conscious as the starling was really letting loose now and I was afraid it was beginning to look like I was deliberately agitating him. I was also worried about the birds blood pressure, he seemed highly strung as it was so all the salt really wouldn’t do him any favours.
I pulled that trick parents use on babies when they want them to stop eating something they shouldn’t, I put the crisps into my bag, held up my hands and said “all gone”.
The starling stopped mid whirl and threw me a disgusted side glance, he knew the truth, he turned and walked away. He didn’t fly off, he just walked.
I watched as the bird mooched off into the distance, just another performer who had wasted his talent on an ungrateful audience.
I like to imagine that he eventually kicked his crisp habit, moved to the country, got his act together and is flying straight at last.
On the other hand he may have relocated to the sea side, fallen in with some gulls and has moved onto chips…lets hope not. x