Starlings – why do they do it?

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A flock of birds may seem harmless - but what if they get in the way of aircraft ?

Over the last few weeks I have being watching a wonderful sight in the sky over Strand Quay.  Just before sunset there is a murmuration of starlings (see above).

For the layman that is a large swarm of starlings. They fly hither and thither in a big group with smaller groups breaking away and rejoining.

This goes on for about 15 to 30 minutes before they roost for the night and rumour has it that they are roosting in the foliage at the Simply Italian restaurant.

Why do they do it ? , you ask, and I thought the RSPB (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) might be able to help. They think that starlings do it for many reasons.

Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

They also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. They gather over their roosting site, and perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night.

When there is a nice sunset, walk over to the Stand Quay and observe a wonder of nature.

Photo : Ray Prewer

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