Did you know that the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is in decline? Though it is still a very common garden bird, particularly in the south of England, globally it is threatened and the RSPB has designated it a Red List species. Red is the highest conservation priority, needing urgent action.
These are noisy, gregarious birds and in May, when numbers have been swelled with hungry youngsters, our garden echoes to the prattling, screeching squadrons of starlings that flock in by the dozens to feed.
One year we saw a pure white starling. We only saw her once – for some reason we felt she was a female – and I suppose she was doomed from the moment she put on her unusual apparel.
Starlings are marvellous photographic subjects as they argue and manoeuvre to appropriate the best position on the feeders. The following are some photographs Barry took this week. For those not fluent in Starlingese – or is it Starlingish? – I have provided translations. The language, after all, is in the movement.
Left-hand starling (Lhs): Come on if you think you're hard enough!
Right-hand starling (Rhs): Hey! I'm just stretching my wings - calm down.
Lower starling (Ls): I thought this was a quiet neighbourhood.