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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

14 October, 2009

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Sturnus vulgaris? I suppose that the Starling is a sort of vulgar creature! It is noisy, has attitude, it's quarrelsome, some would say it is dirty, and it has a look of trouble about it.

I would add that they are great fun and, when seen close up in sunshine, quite handsome. I like Starlings.

One of the wonders of the natural world is undoubtedly the site of millions, yes millions, of Starlings swirling around in clouds prior to diving into a reed bed to roost. Unfortunately that is not really a Dorset event, one has to cross the border and go to the RSPB reserve at Ham Wall in Somerset to see this event every evening during the winter.

Despite the countless numbers of Starlings in the UK during the winter enforced by great influxes from across northern Europe, as a breeding bird in this country it has been in steady decline and that may still be a continuing trend.

It is also interesting that returns from the RSPB Garden Birdwatch show declining numbers feeding in our gardens in mid-winter when there are undoubtedly huge numbers of them (see above re millions at dusk in Somerset). I think that the garden feeding is down over the last 30 years because of changes in garden use and in the way we feed birds but that is a big issue and one, sadly, I cannot discuss here.