The Starling Sturnus vulgaris may not be the most memorable of all the birds we see in our gardens but I remember seeing flocks of them when I was a child whilst visiting my Grandparents in Luton. Unfortunately now I would be lucky to see just one as the species are currently suffering from a large decline in recent decades. This is thought to be due to the reduction of permanent pasture, changes in their feeding habits and reductions of insect food in the soil, however the actual cause is unknown.
The British Trust for Ornithology have shown that numbers have fallen by 66 per cent in Britain since the mid-1970s. Shockingly this is 6 per cent higher than the decline of House Sparrows in towns and cities, the species we always think of when we think of a declining garden bird. This decline is also very much seen across Northern Europe and therefore Starlings are now on the red list of conservation criteria, the highest priority, meaning they urgently need our help.
It really would be a shame to lose these cheeky birds from our bird tables and of course who could imagine not seeing their spectacular autumn and winter murmurations.
Photo of murmuration and Starling courtesy of RSPB website:(http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/starling/index.aspx)
They may not be the most exciting bird to see in your garden, but I for one would definitely miss these gregarious and feisty flyers from our landscapes. To find out more about starlings as well as how to help you could visit the RSPB website.
RSPB (2014) [Online] Starling, Available at: www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/starling/index.aspx
BTO (2014) [Online] Starling, Available at: www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw/gardens-wildlife/garden-birds/a-z-garden-birds/starling
The Gaurdian (2014) [Online] Garden starlings in 79% UK decline, Available at: www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/mar/29/starlings-uk-gardens-decline-rspb
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