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This morning our feeders and backyard were suddenly swarmed by a flock of what I initially thought were cowbirds or catbirds, but upon closer inspection they all displayed a starling-like patch of dark-with-speckles under their wings and around their chests... those species don't create hybrids, do they? I wasn't able to get any pictures, but they were shaped a lot more like a cowbird than a starling. There had to have been at least twenty of them! I live in a suburban area on the northeast side of Columbus, Ohio.

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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Oh, and welcome to Whatbird!

Scroll to the right and see photos #4 and #5, although your birds may be showing more speckles.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/European_Starling/id

Aha, yeah! You're right! I was thrown off by the dark beaks, and the fact that ALL of the birds in this flock were like that- not a single adult Starling in sight! Is that common grouping behavior, all the youngsters flying together with no supervision?

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Sorry, I can't address starling behavior in detail.  I can relate some more general information.

In many species, adults may migrate before that summer's generation.  (In others, males and females may migrate at different times.)  In some, the new birds form generational flocks separate from their parents and other adults; in others, immatures move off on their own as individuals.  Sometimes the first brood of the season will hang around and help their parents feed a second brood.  In some, the young are fully independent when leaving the nest and need no supervision; in some, they may need parental nurturing for months or years; in some, they're semi-independent as soon as they dry out of the egg.

Short version - it all depends on the species.

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20 hours ago, Neubauje said:

Aha, yeah! You're right! I was thrown off by the dark beaks, and the fact that ALL of the birds in this flock were like that- not a single adult Starling in sight! Is that common grouping behavior, all the youngsters flying together with no supervision?

That's quite anthropomorphic. The human system of extended care of young is quite rare in other taxa.

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