Starling Invasion!

Starling Invasion!

A starling murmuration in the country side.

Starlings (Sturnus Vulgaris) are probably most famous for their murmurations, when thousands of birds swoop and dive in unison, creating an amazing sight to behold.  However, the large numbers in which these birds flock and roost are the very reason why they can be viewed as a nuisance.  Starlings are noisy, and often make untidy nests in buildings, which can become a problem when flocks can reach over 100,000 in number.  The Wildlife Trust reports flocks of starlings can number over a million birds! People experiencing starlings roosting in their homes have reported sleepless nights due to the bird’s noise and activity, as well as large amounts of unsightly and unsanitary droppings. Insects and mites that live in the bird’s nests can also find their way into your home.

Identification

The starling has a long, pointed bill, pointed head, short tail, and triangular wings. From a distance, it can look black in colour, but on closer inspection they have a glossy metallic iridescent sheen of greens, blues, and purples on their plumage. The breast is flecked with small, pale spots, which become more apparent in winter.  Juvenile starlings are a greyish brown colour.  Starlings fly very fast, and have a reputation for being noisy, social, and gregarious. They often mimic other birds with their whistling and chattering. An example of the starling’s call can be found here.

Three Common Starlings, Sturnus Vulgaris, perched on a branch.

When & Where to see Starlings

Starlings are native to the UK and usually remain all year round.  Some starlings, however, are migratory travelling from northern Europe to winter in the UK from around September to October, returning home between February and March. During autumn at dusk, you may see a murmuration of starlings, especially in locations such as over reedbeds.  Starlings are conspicuous birds, and common to the UK, therefore it is likely you will spot one!

Protected Species

Whilst this species remains a common garden bird in the UK, their marked decline in numbers means the starling, their nests, and eggs are protected under The Wildlife and countryside act 1981. It’s UK conservation status is currently red, which is the highest conservation concern. It is an offense to intentionally kill or injure a starling, or to harm or remove their eggs or nests whilst the nest in under construction or in use.  Failure to abide by this law may incur a fine and/or a prison sentence.

Nest management

Due to the starling’s protected status, the birds, their nests and eggs should not be disturbed while nesting.  This means nests can only be managed before or after nesting season. As starlings have been known to reuse nests, it is important to speak to a professional pest control agency to look at addressing entry points once the birds have flown the nest.

At Avon Pest Control, we respect the conservation of wildlife and offer an environmentally friendly service. If you have been invaded by starlings and are unsure of how to proceed within legal boundaries, why not call Avon Pest Control today on 01926 632 929 or 01789 293 463 to speak to a member of our team for advice regarding bird friendly solutions.