Do Starlings Migrate?

Most of us think of starlings as being resident birds and, it is true, that most are always with us. Yes, some Starlings DO migrate.

Others are migratory though. These account for the huge increase in the starling population which occurs when birds, from northern Europe, arrive to spend the winter in the UK because the weather is relatively mild there and they will be able to find food and shelter before returning to their breeding territories.

They begin to arrive during September but the majority of starlings will arrive in October, before the winter weather sets in. Most of the birds coming to the UK are from Scandinavia but a person caught during an autumn bird meeting in Bedfordshire already had a ring placed in Lithuania the previous spring.

In winter, the starlings roost together and these are not just a few birds stacked on a thick deck. one site was a resting place for more than a million birds!

One of the great spectacles of winter bird watching is the starlings’ pre-roost assembly, known as murmurations. Before settling for the night, small flocks of these gregarious birds swirl to a huge, swirling mass: an incredible sight.

After talking all winter, the starlings return to their breeding areas in February and March.

7 thoughts on “Do Starlings Migrate?”

  1. Very helpful….I had a lot of Starlings in my garden….but lately they have gone along with sparrows…ai miss them and wonder where they are.

  2. Hi Walter,

    I’ve had starlings visit me on my balcony in London since March this year… Had several broods over the last few months. And now they’ve gone! I wonder if they have migrated or if they are huddled together with their pals and if so, how far afield might this be? Thank you.

    • Most starlings do not migrate, you will find they are all huddled up together somewhere roosting and protecting themselves from the cold.

  3. I live in Llandrindod Wells, Mid, Wales and on Friday 19th February 2021 noticed the sky was full of thousands of Migrating Starling. It was a truly great site to see so many of them. Today Saturday 20th February we are back to our usual UK Starlings. All very quiet.

  4. I have a big Starling nest left over in my loft from last year and I am at loss what to do with it. When will the birds re-use it as a nest?

    • They may reuse the nest yes, but you are safe to move it as long as its before April, they will usually start nesting at peak around May time


Leave a comment

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites