Local Starling Resurgence

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Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:28 pm

This year seems to have led to more starlings visiting the garden than in recent years; I hope this marks a change in the fortunes of this bird.

www.ramblesthroughnature.com/blog/local ... resurgence
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:16 am

We came across a group of about 100 starlings yesterday afternoon, feeding in the grounds of the WWT's Steart Marshes site in Somerset. Many appeared to be adolescents, as although they had the characteristic speckled body, their wings were plainer brown. According to the wardens, these birds regularly feed there, but roost at larger sites not far away, often joining a murmuration before settling. Unfortunately, we didn't witness the murmuration on this occasion.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:39 am

I was surprised but delighted to see a flock of about 60 starlings dispersing from neighbouring gardens during the early afternoon on one of the only dry days we have had this week. They flew overhead in 3 waves of 15 to 25 birds broadly in the same direction, but soon disappeared from view. It seems that my neighbours might also be seeing an increase in local starling activity.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:03 pm

My starling visitors have almost all taken on their adult colouring with the yellow in their beaks apparently spreading outwards from the bases; most have just black tips. Can't yet see the blue or pinkish base colour that differentiates male from female, but perhaps we will have a good number of pairs forming in the near future.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby littlesilverhedgehog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:21 am

I saw my first murmuration over my garden yesterday. I've seen them in York before but never over my garden. Fantastic!
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:30 pm

Great - lucky you. Still haven't seen one in my local area, but still hoping.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:38 am

This morning's wet weather brought a crowd of about 40 starlings to the garden. Once they had devoured the dried mealworms, about two-thirds flew off for pastures new, leaving the rest squabbling over the fat-balls and porridge oats for about another 10 minutes. Peace was restored by the arrival of a jackdaw, who took control of the fat-balls, thus persuading the remaining starlings to move on.

Although I have seen larger numbers in more open countryside, this number is a record for our garden.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:34 pm

Witnessed an unusual event in the garden yesterday, at least not one I have seen before. Six starlings were feeding on meal worms for a few seconds before one leapt onto the back of another and grasped it around the neck with its beak. The lower bird started to squawk (unsurprisingly) and to try to escape, but the top bird hung on grimly. The lower bird managed to struggle across about 20 feet of lawn and enter the flower bed, without shaking the upper bird off. At this point, I went out into the garden and once they realised I was there, the upper bird released the lower one and both flew off almost in close formation, only going their separate ways after about 50 feet of flight. A squabble? An over-enthusiastic mating attempt?
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:11 pm

The arrival of Spring seems to have brought with it a reduction in the number of starlings regularly visiting the garden. Over the past ten days or so, we have seen only 9-12 regular visitors, rather than the 25-30 often seen earlier this year. Can only assume that many of our "over-wintering" birds have returned to their home territories. I wonder whether that is somewhere else in the UK or whether they were temporary immigrants from the continent.

Some of those that remain seem to be checking out the roof tiles on neighbouring houses, where many of last year's brood were hatched and fledged. Fingers crossed that they have a good breeding season.
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Re: Local Starling Resurgence

Postby John Pilkington » Tue May 03, 2016 8:52 pm

Daily numbers of starling visitors seem to have stabilised in the 9-12 region, although most seem to have been gathering strands of hay, which my grandson loves to put out for them, over the past 2 weeks, or stealing bits from the lining of the hanging baskets. Looking forward to many fledglings later this summer.
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