Arriving back from a morning walk, I was met by the sight of several Starlings soaring swallow-like in the airspace above the garden and house. With a deep blue sky and a welcome warmth in the air I immediately knew what this apparent identity crisis was all about.
Starlings are a ‘marmite’ species for garden birdwatchers, we appear to be split between those who find them loud, uncouth, aggressive and are incensed by what is perceived as bullying behaviour at the feeders and bird table and those that love them for their incredibly colourful plumage sheen and character. I confess I hold them in high regard, they are, despite their raucous squabbling occasionally a bird that has adapted to man and all we throw at them. They grub for ‘leatherjackets’ (crane-fly larvae) on our neatly-trimmed lawns thrown up to replace farm fields and meadows that would have provided traditional summer foraging. A tree-hole/cavity nester they have exploited the nooks and crannies in our houses, slipping into the spaces between tiles or gaps in facias to raise their noisy broods.