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Starlings not migrating

Hi everyone - I was just wondering if anyone knew if it is normal for starlings not to have migrated yet.  I have a huge band that have congregated around my garden of about 50 or 60 - my garden is only 20ft x 30ft and the whole of the back hedges are now white with starling poo.  I put out mealworms and suet granules for the blackbirds and robins which is what is keeping them coming.  They are eating me out of house and home.  I felt sure that by now they would have migrated and I have seen groups of birds heading south over the last couple of weeks, but these starlings remain steadfastly on my hedges.  I'm starting to have the horrible thought that these starlings have already to my garden, and I will be stuck with them all Winter.  I am in South Lincolnshire.  Any thoughts please?  Thanks image



  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    Sorry Lunarz, they don't migrate. Some of the best flying displays are in the winter.

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    They did migrate last year nutcutlet - I had lots of starlings last Summer, then no starlings all last winter and then they all returned in the Spring and dropped off their young, which are all now adults and which comprise the big group that I have now, plus I seem to have had several additions in the last few weeks.  All of the starlings in my garden are in their first winter - they have different coats to the adults.  I really hope that they do migrate again as I am in a situation where they are now eating all of the food that I put down for the other birds within 10 minutes of putting it out.  I am in Lincolnshire, so I did think that I am too far North for them to over-winter here - I know that they do winter along the South coast of the UK.  

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    Some of the best winter starling displays are around Gretna in Scotland. Perhaps yours went to join them last year. 

    We are talking about the same bird aren''t we? Noisy, lovely flight patterns, pretty colours in the feathers?.

    They're resident birds, might move away from one garden but they haven't left the country. 

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    Yes, we are talking about the same birds - believe me, I know all too well what starlings sound like and look like - I have had to have my roof sealed this year because I had them roosting in my loft right above my head - not a sound that you want to hear at 5am when the sun comes up.  Then I had to seal up all of my bathroom vents because they got in there too.  I have had exactly the same pattern this year as last year so far - several adults arrive in the Spring, bringing lots of (brown) baby starlings, the adults fly off and the babies grow up around my garden. The babies coats gradually change to be like the adults, except that their heads remain brown.  They definitely all left my garden at the beginning of last winter which was a big relief to be honest, but now I am worried that I am going to have to put up with them all winter this year.  According to my (also RSPB) book, they do migrate from Northern Britain in the winter.  I simply can't afford to feed 60 starlings all winter and they are bullying all the other birds out of the garden, even the blackbirds. They are also covering the garden in droppings - and I mean absolutely covering.  It's as bad as having 50 or 60 pigeons in a small space.  I am sure that they are lovely birds from afar, and I know that their numbers are in decline, but in a small 20ft x 30ft garden, 60 starlings are a huge pest and actually quite distressing - even to a wildlife lover like me.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    I remember hoards of them eating everything we put out years ago but we haven't had them in such great numbers for ages. There's a popular roost down in our nearest village so I can sympathise with the droppings situation, It's dangerous to walk underneath. I don't know that there's much you can do to get rid of them without losing the rest of the birds. Perhaps if you withdrew the food for a while they'd move on. Then you could start feeding the rest again.

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    Yes, sadly that's the conclusion I've come to - but I would feel very sad to stop feeding the blackbirds and robins.  I've seen a couple of flocks heading South so I'll keep my fingers crossed for a week or two and if not, I'll have to decide whether to withdraw the food.  Such a shame as I have done a great deal to encourage wildlife into my garden over the last couple of years image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    It is a shame. While it's sad to see any species diminishing, there'll be a lot of people  who were glad to see a reduction. The only thing I missed was those fantastic dusk flights.

  • KezzaKezza Posts: 90

    Hi Lunarz


    Oh I do sympathise with youimage, I live in NE Scotland (Moray) and have had starlings throughout this year.  I too thought they migrated and was wondering the same, when are they going to beggar off, but to no avail thus far.  They too savage all the food I put out for the little birds, but I do find that they totally ignore seed and peanuts.  I too put out suet pellets and dried mealworms and it's these latter 2 that get savaged - oh and the fat balls.  Just this last week I've had a family of long tail tits in the garden which are a delight to see, but distressing for me also as they head for the fat balls, so I have to watch for the starlings so the poor little LTT's get a look in.  I also put out a fat cake in a cage, and every so often the whole thing 'just disappears'.  I too like you enjoy encouraging the wildlife into the garden, and love the array of birds I get, I know we must feed and support all kinds of birds, but do feel the same sometimes re:  the starlings.  Though luckily I don't get 60 oddimage, the most I've counted is about 23, all lining up on the electricity line over the garden.  Luckily I live in the countryside, so don't get quite so bombarded with the plop, though the dome feeders on the feeding station is smothered some days.

    We can just cross our fingers and hope they do move south a little, as my jet propelling the window open and swearing through the gap on a regular basis must be quite comical to anyone that could hear meimage

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    LOL - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who jet propels open the window and shouts at the bushes.  Accompanied, with the occasional running out into the garden clapping my hands like a mad woman image  I feel pretty sorry for my neighbours as, at least there is a reason for me to have droppings all over my hedge - he gets them all over his side and he's not even interested in feeding wildlife.  I am waiting for the inevitable knock on the door about me continuing to feed these pests...  If things stay this cold, perhaps there is a chance that they will still migrate - I was so pleased to see them go last year - and was so sorry to see them back with all the babies this year... image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Yes we do have some resident starlings, but the large flocks we have in the Winter are migrants from elsewhere. Scandinavia and Russia.

    I dislike them.  I put down cheap porridge oats from the supermarket.  They will all fly away round about St Patricks Day.  

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