Murmurations of Starlings

There don’t seem to be very many pigeons in Ann Arbor (or what pigeons there are have been cruelly maimed in glue traps, as a story in today’s Ann Arbor News reports; why didn’t the pig who dreamed up the glue traps just get out his rifle and shoot the things instead of torturing them?). In the Bay Area they are as common as rats and ants. However, what seems to be the pigeon’s counterpart in AA are starlings. They seem to be everywhere lately. I saw dozens of them on my way to the bus stop this afternoon, all gathered in little groups (actually, the plural term for starlings is a “murmuration”—a nice little nugget of librarian trivia) on the grass looking for grubs or worms or whatever it is they eat. They are quiet and unobtrusive and interesting to watch, though (unlike pigeons).

What I don’t like as much is the bird that has a nest in one of the nearby bushes and that wakes me up every morning when the window’s open with its shrill caw. Is it a blue jay of some kind? It sure sounds as obnoxious as one.