Here's a closer (although not too focused) view of the same bird:
I was trying to get a photo at one point and I startled her (him?), causing her to drop a small twig she was carrying and boy, did she start squawking at me!! Next thing I know, she comes back with this two foot long stick. No kidding, it was that long. She hopped back and forth on the railing of the deck at Heather and Andy's house several times, trying to figure out how to get the very big stick into the rather small opening of the location of her nest, seeing which angle worked best and darned if she didn't figure it out.
For she was building her nest inside their barbeque. Still not kidding you! See that narrow slot opening on the left hand side of the photo above? She'd squeeze her way in there with her branches and then squirm back out and fly off to find more fodder.
We waited until she'd left and then opened up the lid to see what was inside. Heather was convinced there wouldn't be much in there, because Andy had cleaned out a huge collection of sticks and twigs just the day before, but I'd been watching her for a while and knew she had been making many trips back and forth. Here's what we found inside:
Quite an ambitious bird, that starling, wouldn't you say?!
Soon afterwards, Andy found this tiny little nest inside a hanging pot of geraniums:
Here's a closeup, so you can see some of the detail on this finely constructed nest.
Anybody know what kind of bird lays this sort of egg?