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Seasonal Visitors

Over the last few weeks, you may have seen large flocks of small birds in the Mallorcan skies. The birds are starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and there seem to be millions around at the moment, apparently more so than in previous years. During Autumn and Winter, these seasonal visitors to our shores offer an impressive sight when just before sunset they form large flock formations. Their flights seem erratic and unpredictable, yet appear to be orchestrated when ascending or descending or, quite abruptly, changing direction.

In Palma de Mallorca, the birds are now considered a pest and a bit of a health hazard. Experts say that starlings and other aves can be carriers of potentially pathogenic microorganisms that cause salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, and pneumonia ornithosis. The birds can also carry ticks, bedbugs, lice and fleas, or so it is claimed. The Palma City Council organises an annual campaign aiming to control and displace the invasive birds, using alarm sounds and birds of prey as a deterrent.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 4th, 2007. The time was 18:23:53.

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December 2009


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