Each time a hulking-coated, skull-capped bear-thing left the shadow of the overhang, the starlings took off in one whooshing mass from the cherry whose last fruits they were stripping en masse.
They wheeled over the stores to the north, staying together, shifting in simultaneous pressure waves, reversed course, and in a boomerang curve gushed back to this lone tree set in hardpan soil at the edge of a parking lot.
As soon as they landed, they began feeding, their speeded up lives in this cold demanding the largest caloric intake in the shortest time. Bear-thing coming and chuffing out air steam — gone! — wheel round — land — gorge — repeat. Again. Again.
Once I heard someone call starlings trash birds, as if they were weed animals, but their song is complex, their speckled black feathers iridescent in this strong sun — when they turned against the southlight, they blazed like schools of fish in clear water.
In windblown trash and traffic noise, they are a sudden pleasure, the bright spirits of this place. A Murmuration….