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Caz W

Put out a slighty shrivelled plum today for first time - blackbird delighted / starlings not impressed.

Kezza

Oh No !!!!

 

I used to have around 23 starlings, and on Saturday I counted 67 !!!!!!!!!!!!! aaarrrgh !

Dovefromabove

I expect they've migrated from northern Europe, flying ahead of the bad weather we've been promised.  Do they have Scandinavian accents?

Kezza

ha ha ha ha ha Dovefromabove, that made me larf !

 

wouldn't mind but when I went in the garden first thing in the morning, there was 1 !!!!

 

they are such good look-outs

Dovefromabove

You haven't seen Lunarz sprinkling suet in your garden have you?  I've heard she'll go to any lengths to get her starlings to move on 

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Kezza

that did cross my mind as it happens !

 

wouldn't put it past her, seeing as the numbers encountered were remarkably similar  tee hee !

Dovefromabove

Did they have Lincolnshire accents and webbed feet? 

Kezza

ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa

maybe Lunarz can see if hers will have a scottish twang to their accent next, then we'll know that it's the same flock going up and down the country - seeing which of us will give in first

Lunarz

 I wish I HAD thought of that Kezza - but I've still got them all here unfortunately - chowing down on the oats along with the Blackbirds.  I think they are here for the winter this year - boo.  Hubby wants me to remove all feeders apart from the seed feeders because of the droppings, as they even eat the peanuts and raid the so-called 'small bird only' feeders too.  They are going to end up stopping me feeding everything   I honestly can't see how these birds are declining in number - they can eat anything!

Dovefromabove

If you scroll down to 'Behavour' Wikipedia says that starling guano is a good plant fertiliser - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Starling so you can tell Hubby you'll be able to save money on buying it next year   It also suggests that the only thing that'll move them on is a bird of prey - perhaps he'd like to take up falconry - get him a merlin and a big glove for Chrissie  and when you get an OBE for services to wildlife you'll have to say that you 'couldn't have done it without him' 

 

Lunarz

 Thanks Dove - actually the border under the hawthorn hedge that they sit on did do well this year!  As for the bird of prey, we have a regular sparrowhawk visitor and I have seen it take at least three starlings this year - it seems to specifically go for the starlings actually.  Although they are all back again 10 minutes after it has flown off with its prey and at that rate it will take it about 25 years to get the rest of them  I will put up with them for now - although if they are going to stay here for the winter I am a bit worried about what's going to happen if they all have babies in the Spring ...

flowering rose

saw flock of starlings in somerset dancing across the sky,I have seen them here before near a farm they seem to roost but today they were flying in numbers across a beautiful blue sky.

Shuv

Hate to tell you but we had starlings nesting in our house wall (through a broken air vent) for 3 years and they never went anywhere!  They were there when we moved in here and just stayed all year making a terrible racket and the only way we got rid of them was to put up a new vent and block the hole one day when they had all flown out to my feeders! I love them in the garden now they don't wake me up every morning! But I have every sympathy for you, good luck! 

Woodgreen wonderboy

Not only are starlings resident in UK but they are joined in winter by visitors from further north, where they are summer visitors. So you should always have some, depending on food availability.

Bunny ...
Errr we always have some

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Hi all I have really enjoyed reading your comments and have had a giggle at some of them...thanks...I was looking to see whether starlings migrate as they are growing in number in my garden and eating all the mealworm I put out for my 1 Robin!  I am pleased to to see them as they have been nonexistent in my area for a couple of years. As have all the garden birds..very sparse. I have been thrilled to see about 12 house sparrows, 2 blue Tits, 2 great Tits, 1 Robin, 1 Jay,  and about 8 starlings. I live in Dagenham which is greater London, we used to have a lot of small birds but the decline of hedges and front gardens being paved for cars seemed to have a big impact on the birdlife. 

I must say that I have quite enjoyed the starlings doing an impression of a humming bird to get the mealworm so from the new feeder which I hoped would be starling proof...have just fitted a hood to it in an attempt to protect the mealworm from starlings...time will tell! 😁

Dovefromabove

We're in Norfolk and they do seem to be quite nomadic - some years we have quite a few nesting here in the summer and other years only one or two if any.  In the winter they all seem to move to the reedbeds around the Broads.  

BobTheGardener

On a recent nature programme, it was mentioned that lots of birds that we call resident actually do migrate but the migration may be by only a few tens of miles further south.  They are then replaced by birds from a few miles further north.  Even robins and blackbirds do it, if I recall correctly so the ones you have in summer in your garden may not be the same ones you had in winter.

In the winter months, the British resident starling population is supplemented by vast numbers of birds migrating from eastern Europe, when the weather gets too cold there for them.

They generally start to arrive towards the end of September or the beginning of October and continue to arrive throughout November.

They only return to their homeland in early March or April, when our native starlings start to go to nest.

Starlings are of course a Red Listed Species in Britain, with decline in numbers being the worst in southern and western parts. However, the latest study shows that numbers are now also declining in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Starlings feed efficiently in flocks, which can of course be a problem if you're looking to feed other species.

You can get large wire cages to go over ground feeding tables that keep larger birds out. Of course, the blackbirds can't get to the food either with these, but it might be worth thinking of.

We have starlings in the garden all year round, in large numbers and they nest in the soffits in the spring.

Fortunately, I love them -- you could always direct them to come this way if you really don't want them!

British born Starlings in mild winter weather move very little and remain in smaller localised family groups. As food diminishes they move and at the same time smaller family groups tend to join other families and flocks slowly grow in size. As the winter progresses and the weather gets colder and or a food supply is exhausted they move on and form even larger groups and so on and on. The greater the severity of the weather and a diminishing food source the further they move and the larger the flocks become.

Starlings reared in northern Europe normally migrate southward as part of there normal lifecycle every year and are considered migratory but birds reared further south are less likely to move very far at all and even further south they don't move at all. Britain is fairly central and british starlings move very little in normal winter weather but they are joined by vast flocks of there northern cousins every winter.

Generally birds move south but not always though as it's possible to get colder weather and snow etc in the south and milder weather further north and birds will then move northward. In extreme situations birds will move thousands of miles or not at all. 

Mild winter weather or season  can be considered extreme weather when colder weather is the norm.

Our winter has been extremely mild so far and our starlings and there northern cousins are spread out thinly over the whole country at the mo in small groups so we are seeing a lot more of them. If we get some colder more normal winter weather then they will move and concentrate themselves closer to our larger cities and we will see a lot less of them in our more rural gardens.

Starlings don't eat as much as you may think though either because they are very untidy and aggressive at the feeding stations and a lot of the food just gets scattered all over the place for other birds to enjoy when the starlings have buggered off.

This is what I do:

It allows smaller birds in and keeps the larger birds out and it's cheap to do. You can cage off only a part or half the table or have two tables and cage one of them.

Most people tend to hate them at the garden feeders but they are an important part of our countries wildlife and they are considered endangered.

We tend to think of mild winter weather as being a good thing for our wildlife in general but this is not true at all. In fact mild winter weather is a serious problem for our bats, mice, butterflies and moths and other pollinators as they cannot hibernate properly and die of starvation and our butterflies and moths rot away caused by fungal infections.