Starlings have always fascinated me one way or another. As a child I would watch the Starling flocks take to the evening sky as they swirled complex patterns with military precision. Sometimes the flocks would contain as few as thirty birds whilst other times the numbers swelled until they took over great swathes of the sky. They flew a hundred or so metres in one direction then quite abruptly the whole flock would turn at exactly the same moment to shoot in a different direction. When the flocks were large they would create patterns as two-thirds of the flock would fly one way whilst the remaining birds would all shoot upwards or downwards … it was hypnotising. They would eventually finish their ballet with what looked like a death plummet from the heavens to the earth below where they would suddenly fly off in different directions to their various roosts for the night.
At the bird table they would remind me of ‘washer women’ or ‘busy gossips’ as the bustled, busied and pushed their way to the prize pieces of food. They barged in front of the finches and tits and even the Blackbird and Robin where quickly hustled out of the way as they squawked and shoved all other birds off the scene.
As they have such capabilities in their feeding habits it seems strange that their numbers have diminished so greatly. Over the last five years I have hardly seen any but I managed to capture a picture of two young juvenile fledglings as they called in this Ash tree.
Juvenile Starling fledglings