A murmuration of starlings

Although there wasn’t much murmuring going on, more like a joyful breakfast cacophony!

We were visited yesterday morning by a little flock of parents and fledglings – a kind of nursery outing if you will.  Some of the babies looked very newly fledged, others were bigger and bolder and all were calling frequently to the parents, who were working hard to pick up insects, worms and the bits of bread which I’d thrown out a few minutes before.

It was fascinating to watch, especially the behaviour of the young birds.  At one point a group of them hijacked my bird table and crowded inside and on top of it, still calling and asking for food, the parents duly delivering a mouthful to the nearest open beak. !

It was almost as if they were trying to recreate the nest – a safe spot where they could huddle up and wait for the next food delivery.

Starlings flock together naturally so it’s not unusual to see these family groups together.  They usually lay 4-6 eggs in the middle of April and the young fledge when they are about three weeks old.  The are only fed for a couple of weeks, until they can fend for themselves.   I feel quite privileged to have viewed this brief stage in the starlings’ lives, it was a quick but joyful visit!

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