23rd October 2014

Starlings start to look a bit different at this time of year and people sometimes get confused about the birds turning up in their gardens. In late summer, adults, though still glossy with burnished purples, blues and greens if they catch the light, are also speckled with white ‘dots’. Their normally yellow beaks also turn to black over winter. Starlings living through their first winter have dark underparts but lighter grey-brown backs and heads. Their habits change too, as they tend to feed in bigger flocks ( as they build to the famous ‘murmurations’) and roost in very large, noisy groups of up to half a million birds in one roost! Our native Starlings are supplemented by birds from many other areas, including the Low Counties, Scandinavia, The Baltic States and Russia. They feed on beaches, in fields (where they get rid of many unwanted invertebrates), grass in parks and bushes covered with berries- Starlings definitely aren’t fussy!

Starling in winter plumage, feeding on a beach.

Starling in winter plumage, feeding on a beach- still glossy and iridescent on body.

Starling feeding on grass, showing the pale stippling on the feathers.

Starling feeding on grass, showing the pale stippling on the feathers and head.

  Conditions: A still, cloudy day. Temperature: Max 16- Min 13 C.

The starling on the right, feeding on blackberries, was born this year and so it's back is still browny-grey.

The starling on the right, feeding on blackberries, was born this year and so it’s back is still browny-grey.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s