Wednesday 3 October 2012

All together now

Sometimes the car radio supplies the perfect soundtrack.
Only last week I had been telling my son,
as we wandered around Leicester Square, 
that this had once been
an enormous roosting spot for starlings.
A murmuration of starlings,
once a common enough sight,
is now a rarity.
Today as I drove away from the supermarket car park
I had a tantalising reminder...
a local flock of starlings whirled, divided
and regrouped as this began to play -


  1. First the starling looked bemused and then you! Don't worry Lucille I push wrong buttons and delete things too - I blame my glasses!

    1. What I was going to say before I so rudely pushed delete is that the supermarket plays the starling distress call over a loudspeaker near the trolleys. You can see how well that worked!

  2. Does that mean the nearby population of starlings in Trafalgar Square has also disappeared?
    I have very vivid memories of standing in awe on the steps of the National Gallery as a young boy, watching the vast and almost overwhelming aeronautic display of these birds before they settled for the night

  3. Yes and the pigeons. No one is allowed to feed them, so the obligatory photograph of small nervous child with a pigeon on its head is also a thing of the past.

  4. I remember swooping clouds of starlings in Suchiehaul Street in Glasgow when I was small . They make , with ladies in hat and gloves , little pots of tea and iced cakes and shop lifts , one of my most vivid childhood memories .
    Now they just make me think of the aftermath of the Bosnian war and the graves .

  5. I think all the starlings have moved to Texas! They've become a bit of a problem here, though I think they are lovely to look at. If you're intersted:

    The Good and The Beautiful:
    They eat tons of gypsy moths and their caterpillars, flies and their larvae and many other obnoxious insects.
    Male Starlings are gifted nest decorators and fumigators.
    Mated pairs are usually monogamous and are devoted parents.
    Mimicry is another of their talents, reproducing the sounds of other birds as well as humans and almost any sound they hear.
    Starlings are known for their gracefully-synchronized aerial murmuration dances.
    Feathers of shimmering iridescence sparkle with star-like dots, so there is no doubting their beauty.

    Starlings are very sociable and love to flock together in large groups.
    The Bold and The Bad:

    Their aggression and territorial takeover habits have displaced and killed off many native songbirds.
    Corrosive droppings damage all kinds of surfaces and objects.
    They spread weed seeds and eat large amounts of grain crops.
    Because of their enormous flocks, they are a definite threat to aviation.
    Gluttony at backyard bird feeders pushes out the regular native bird visitors.

  6. Perfect murmuration music. So beautiful.