Reflections: 10th May 2020 - Baby Boom


Photo: Adult starling leading a family feeding outing

What with the 'lockdown' in force coupled with a slight downturn in the weather we were confined to the house for much of the day and spent the time watching the birds in the garden. We do not have a special garden that normally attracts lots of birds, even in the depth of winter, as we are not near woodland or a particular habitat that would influence what we see here. This afternoon, though, we witnessed something we have never seen before.

Over the last few days we had already seen a fledgling robin in the garden, we think a pair nested in some shrubs at the bottom of the garden which they have never done before. Two pairs of our resident house sparrow colony have been out feeding young and we have had three fledgling blackbirds looking a bit bewildered as they find their way in the world.  Add in a young dunnock and the numbers are almost complete.

This afternoon, however, a flock of around thirty starlings descended on the lawn and around the pond. We rarely get starlings in the garden let alone thirty! What was interesting though was that out of the total number, it was impossible to get an accurate figure as anyone who has seen a flock of starlings on the ground will understand, they were mostly juveniles. We think there were six adults meaning that we may have had three families each with six or so young. Some of the young were able to feed themselves, other were still following parents around demanding to be fed.

My point is that in most years we get very few fledgling birds but this year we seem to inundated with them. Does this mean the favourable spring weather so far has been kind to our breeding birds and we are witnessing a baby boom? I certainly hope so, goodness knows they need a few good years after recent population declines.

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