The Rose-coloured Starling (Sturnus roseus), is one of those birds that demonstrate how superficial humans are. La Vie en Rose its really paying off for this little birds. They are not so different from the well known Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) but whenever they show up the twitchers are moving in. These are amazing birds and they look 'nice' but that pink doesn't make sense… The scientific name of the Common Staling is vulgaris… now that is not fair. Romania is one of the few European countries where this specie is nesting almost every year. They prefer Dobrogea's dry climate and old stone quarries while feeding mostly on grasshoppers and locusts. Almost every year you can find a colony in the area but during some years they decide to show off and form huge, noisy, pink, smelly colonies in the near of Tulcea town.
In the past their name was Pastor roseus and the archaic name in English was Smelling Pastor… so there goes the myth that shows the human conspiracy regarding this species. Like every obvious beauty this one has it's dirty secret… it smells like hell. Later in history they tried to hide this… so they have changed it's name from smelling to Rose-coloured… now that's convenient isn't it.
I took the pictures below in a colony situated just a few hundred meters out of Tulcea town a couple of years ago and I can tell you they smell. I have learned my lesson many years ago when I have discovered the largest colony ever recorded in Dobrogea (30.000 individuals). I stood in that colony for half a day with my friend Paul Sterry, a renowned wildlife photographer, to try and take some photos. At the end of the day I had to throw away my clothes as they where stinking like hell…
If you want to see them in action and smell them you will have to take a tour in Dobrogea from 15th of May to end of June. Not all the years you get lucky but if there is a dry hot summer the chances are higher. You can contact me if you want info from the field so you don't travel for nothing.