Starlings in sky at RSPB reserve

Starling roost

Starling murmurations are a true wonder of the natural world and the Avalon Marshes are one of the best places in the UK to come and witness this amazing wildlife spectacle.

Time your visit

When is the best time of year to come and see the murmurations?

Starling numbers are greatest in December and January, as many of the birds are migrants from the colder areas of Northern Europe. However, large numbers of birds can turn up from the end of October right through until the start of March.

Planning a visit

We get lots of visitors during starling season and the weekends can be particularly busy. Try visiting on a weekday if possible as this can you help to avoid the peak times. Choose a dry, bright, and still day as the starlings tend to perform better in these conditions.

Arrive early to beat the crowds – although the starlings don’t come in to roost until the afternoon there is loads of other special wildlife in the Avalon Marshes from otters to bitterns and marsh harriers to the majestic great white egret, there is plenty to see, so why not make a day of it?

What is the best time of the day to see the starlings?

The starlings leave the marshes during the day and go off to feed, some up to 20 miles away. They return in the afternoon and the murmurations can start an hour or so before sunset.

Arriving before 3:30pm will ensure that you catch the spectacle but the starlings tend to return earlier when it is cloudy but stay out longer when it brighter to take advantage of extra feeding time.

The starlings can be just as spectacular when they leave their roost in the morning as tens of thousands of birds erupt out of the reeds all at once. This usually happens about half an hour before sunrise, so 7:30 am tends to be a good time to see this stunning show.

Flock of starlings over reedbed

What you need to know

How do I know where the starlings are going to roost?

The starling roost shifts on a regular basis but they are most likely to roost somewhere on Ham Wall or Shapwick Heath. Call the starling hotline before you come on 07866 554142 to find out where the birds were roosting on the previous day.

Every weekend and some weekdays the Visitor Welcome building in the Ham Wall car park will be manned by staff and volunteers who will be able to give you more information on the starling roost.

What do I need to bring?

The starlings don’t come to order so be prepared for some standing around. It can be very cold out on the reserve so bring plenty of warm layers, stout footwear and thick socks. The murmuration finishes as it is getting dark so bring a torch to help you get back to your car or home safely.

Bring change for the car park – parking costs £1.50 for up to two hours and £3.00 for more than two hours. If you are an RSPB member bring your membership card to display on your dash to park for free. 

Visit the Avalon Marshes Partnership website for more information on the Starling Murmurations and the surrounding area.

Starling Sturnus vulgaris, adult male in hedge of Wild privet Ligustrum vulgare, Bedfordshire, England,