A recent trip to Jamaica Bay in the wind and cold was not very birdy and what birds I did see were mostly frantically feeding on whatever they could find.  A large flock of European Starlings Sturnus vulgaris was no exception and I watched and digiscoped quite a few starlings feeding on Winged Sumac Rhus copallinum.  Starlings, because of their ubiquity in the urban environment and their introduced status in North America, are often ignored.  Winged Sumac, also called Shining Sumac, is similarly overlooked, probably because it grows on roadsides and other marginal habitat and is therefore sometimes lumped in with weeds.  Despite the lowly status of both the plant and the bird I found the combination of the two irresistible.

So pay attention to the lowly starling and boring old sumac: you won’t regret it!

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.