Move over starlings... you’re making life hell

Reporter:

Lois Hough

IS it a bird? Actually it is hundreds of them and they have been circling the skies above Sandycroft for a week.

Just before dusk, thousands of starlings ritually take to the skies above Hamilton Avenue wheeling and swooping in unison.

The incredible wildlife spectacle has left bird-watchers in awe – and neighbours cursing as they begin the clean-up operation.

Resident Paula Titley, who took the picture above on her mobile phone, told the Leader: “There are 70-foot conifer trees behind my home that they have all been living in.

“Between 3pm and 4pm, they all come out and circle above making shapes like a tornado.

“We just stand there and watch in amazement and can’t believe what we are seeing.

“The noise is deafening and the mess they make is horrendous.

“I have already had to wash my car once.” Bird experts say there is a simple explanation behind the phenomenon.

RSPB Conwy reserve manager Julian Hughes explained: “What the starlings are doing is getting together before they roost for the evening.

“They come together after feeding and share information about where they have been feeding.

“They fly around and make these amazing formations and then go back to their nests to roost .

“It appears that Sandycroft is an area that is new to them, but this behaviour is quite common and very normal.”

Mr Hughes says up to 10,000 birds can feature in a single display.

But despite the incredible size of the flocks, the starling has suffered a dramatic population crash.

The breeding starling population has dropped by 50 per cent in recent years and is now on the critical list of Welsh birds most at risk.

The decline is believed to be related to lack of food during the breeding season, while changes in pasture management may have made food hard to find.

See full story in the Leader

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