Blue skies and starlings set to dazzle this weekend

Jasmine Granton

Friday 10 November 2017

  • Clear skies are set to make this weekend a bumper one for experiencing the wonder of starling murmurations
  • Throughout November and December thousands of birds can be seen dancing together in patterns across the skies, before dropping down in to their roost sites
  • RSPB reserves are among the best places to see the spectacular display and now is the time to do so

With a clear and mild weekend predicted, it could be the best time to look up to the skies and see one of the most beautiful aerial displays in nature.

Starling murmurations is the name given to large flocks of starlings that gather together to roost through the winter months and are known as nature’s Red Arrows. This impressive sight can involve hundreds of thousands of starlings gathering noisily together at dusk, before performing an extraordinary wheeling and swooping aerial ballet.

It’s always been a mystery as to why this acrobatic ritual is performed but it’s speculated that huge numbers gathered together create a much greater challenge for predator’s looking to pick out an individual as prey. Another perk of sticking together is that the body heat from thousands of starlings in close proximity will raise the surrounding air by a few degrees, making the cold wind more bearable.

This incredible not-to-be missed wildlife spectacle is a highlight on nature’s calendar. And this weekend is set to be the perfect time to see these dazzling displays as calls from wildlife enthusiasts suggest murmurations are already happening. Murmuration sites can vary each year, with some people lucky enough to see them from their back garden, however RSPB reserves are among the best places to witness this incredible sight.

Wildlife expert Claire Thomas said: “Starlings are very lively, chirpy birds, and surprisingly they are the same birds we see in our gardens each day. But to see a murmuration as dusk falls is a real treat.

“Starling murmurations really are one of nature’s greatest spectacles and we’re incredibly lucky to have them happen right here on our doorstep. Although you may see them in your garden, there has been an alarming 80% decline since 1970. So why not reward them when they need to refuel after a spectacular display with some much needed food and water.”

As with all things nature, there’s an element of unpredictability to the murmurations and predicting exact dates can prove tricky. The RSPB has over 200 reserves across the UK and are among the best places to see this wildlife spectacle.

To find your closest reserve, visit http://rspb.org.uk/reserves 

Some RSPB reserves with previous impressive sightings reported are:

RSPB Leighton Moss

RSPB Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire

RSPB Conwy, Conwy

RSPB Salthome, Teeside

RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

Or to keep up to date with confirmed starling murmurations visit, http://www.starlingsintheuk.co.uk/

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: Wildlife spectacles Country: UK locations Country: Reserve Topic: Wildlife spectacles Topic: Reserve facilities Topic: Habitats Topic: Reserve