Our vet was better than this one, but the experience still inspired a bit of humor about how little veterinary medicine knows about starlings.
TEXT OF COMIC:
THANK YOU for finally agreeing to see my starling.
Um, yeah. Quite the unusual pet. What do you feed him?
Mixture of dog food and chicken feed.
I would think a songbird pellet formula would be more appropriate.
All the starling owners online agree that this is the diet best suited to the species.
Well, since I’ve never treated a starling before, I’ll defer to them. You’re at least giving him some small stones for grit to grind up food in his crop?
Starlings don’t do that. They don’t have crops.
Um. Well, has he been showing any symptoms that worry you?
Only that he doesn’t develop breeding plumage in spring. I know sometimes they just don’t do that in captivity, but I’m wondering if something might be off with his hormones.
Well, with most birds I would recommend things like changing the amount of sunlight they get, although to be honest I don’t know how much sun a starling needs.
He eats everything he sees. Could it be possible that some foreign object he swallowed is still in him, and is messing with his body somehow?
There would probably be constipation in that case, which… clearly isn’t a problem here.
I could do an x-ray, of course, but that’s expensive and risky for small animals. And would it be worth that much trouble? Their lifespans can’t be that long anyway.
Starlings can live well into their twenties. But yeah, I don’t think an x-ray is worth the risk.
Well. I mean, I could do some blood work, but I don’t know what levels of anything a starling is supposed to have in its blood. I could weigh him, but I don’t know what a starling is supposed to weigh. I could examine him for lumps and deformities, but I don’t even know how exactly a starling is supposed to be shaped.
Geez. What is even the point of this?
You SEE why we don’t treat starlings?
Not treating starlings and not knowing anything about them is a self-perpetuating cycle!
MOUSEOVER TEXT: if Abby wanted to be the one to break the cycle, she’s gotta deal with it