At this time of year, there is virtually no greater wildlife spectacle than the huge flocks of starlings that spend the winter here in the UK. Starlings are now red listed birds in Britain, which means their numbers have dramatically dropped recently, in fact by over 70% in recent years. Fortunately, our indigenous populations of starlings are swelled at this time of year by birds that breed on the continent, which helps to create this superb display.
One such display can be seen here at Newport Wetlands. It has occurred just before sunset each night this week so far and hopefully for many evenings to come. Last night we were treated to approximately 30,000 of these incredible little birds flying in close formation at break-neck speeds. They tend to gather on the pylons after spending the day in various places foraging for food before grouping together to form a huge flock called a murmuration.
It is thought the behaviour comes from a need to protect themselves from the many predators that may hunt them. Starlings though, are very sociable birds, and to be honest, when you see them swirling around the sky creating a myriad of patterns and shapes they seem to be doing because it looks like so much fun!
If you want to know more about the starlings here at Newport Wetlands please feel free to call us on 01633 636363, we can’t guarantee a spectacle every night but it’s well worth investing time and effort to see it.
I saw a murmuration on Sunday there. Only two more shifts to gol, and then I will be back down there for more!