16 Jun 2020

Lockdown Starlings

One of the features of the lockdown wildlife in our garden has been the recent presence of a small flock of Starlings including both adults and juveniles. We often get flocks of Starlings feeding on the adjacent farmland in the winter but they are rarely seen in our garden and I haven't ringed any until this last few weeks - I've now ringed 12. Not a huge number but from 0 to 12 in a few days suggests somethings going on locally.

We have seen a few more pairs around the village during our daily exercise but this is probably because we were walking the same route everyday rather than a genuine increase in breeding pairs. Jane reckons hers have had a good breeding season and there does seem to be a general increase in the number of juveniles about. I do wonder though if the recent dry spell has meant their usual grubs are harder to find and they've been visiting the garden in search of food.

Its bee na nice distraction and given me an opportunity to hone my Starling sexing skills. See here for a blog post from last year when we were catching good numbers in Jane's garden. This time of year the white spots have worn off by abrasion leaving the glossy plumage seen in the photos below. They can still be sexed on the eye ring in the iris though.

 Male Starling above. Female with eyering in iris below. This can be see nat an early age in juveniles and the photo below shows a juvenile female

 Above: adult male Starling. Beautiful glossy breeding plumage where white spots abraded off.
Female below. Slightly duller and a few remnants of white spots

When the local Starling flock builds up, in the winter, I'll be keeping my usual close eye on them for a Rosy Starling! 

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