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.