Booting Out the Starlings

A vignette of life in New West, by Judy Berlin

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This past spring, my conscientious New Westminster landlord closed off the starling nesting (or should I say pesting?) areas in the apartment’s roof.  Invasive starling pests left for more hospitable roosts. Our songbirds then began to return. Now they could hear themselves think without the starlings’ coarse mimicry or heavy metal squawks and squeals.  Only the morning and evening commuter traffic was left to make our wildlife’s communications difficult.

Fortunately, this month our Royal City is repaving the street and intersection where I live  – with speed bumps, better signage, wheelchair access, and proper pedestrian painted walkways.  Native wildlife, seemingly in response, is returning in numbers. We have real families of woodpeckers and scrub jays, for example.

Months ago, I attended a residents’ association meeting and filled out a comment form,  with suggestions to improve the safety and peace in this area. To think that these and others neighbours’ comments contributed, as drops in a bucket, to neighbourhood improvements.  Not only is this better for us pedestrian humans – it’s better for the citizen crows, jays, woodpeckers, squirrels,  pine siskins, hummingbirds, and chickadees that prefer to hang around year after year because they like and need specific trees, flowers, berries, bushes and grasses here.   Maybe it’s even better for the lawns and flowers and trees, as wildlife help groom and fertilize their habitats.   One man’s parasite is another man’s partner.

If I awake early, I can catch a different ritual behaviour and hear different calls than later on in the day.  I am glad to live in a city whose government does its best to respond to our basic needs. In this case, we are restoring calm and pleasure to a local walking area.  I love New West – our Royal City. Long may she reign.

Judy Berlin

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