Resident Starlings in decline

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Recently we went to RSPB Ham Wall to watch the Starlings come in to roost. Tens of thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of Starlings streamed past us heading for the reeds to roost. So many Starlings that its hard to believe that our UK resident Starlings are Red Listed and in serious decline.

Most of the Starlings here at the moment are just spending the winter here, escaping from the more extreme conditions in Continental Europe. These birds will be returning back across the Channel to their breeding grounds in March.

In fact, on March 10th last year, we had a large group gathered here waiting to set off on their migration back:

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Part of these large Winter flocks such as we saw at Ham Wall, and looking identical to the other birds, are our UK resident Starlings. These birds stay here and breed in this country. They peel off from the rest of the group in February, pair up and try to find somewhere to set up house. These are the Starlings whose numbers have declined dramatically in recent years causing much worry.

So we are very pleased that one pair look like they have decided to nest in a Woodpecker box we have set up. Although I’m not sure what they are doing because they were tremendously busy this morning bringing stuff out of the box which is the opposite of what you might have been expecting. We thought we had cleaned out all the nest boxes – did we forget this one? Great Tits nested in it last year.

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While we were watching, a Blue Tit also checked out the box:

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We haven’t seen a Starling here before in the Summer and so this pair looking like they might hang around and bring up their young here is a first for us.

 

 

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