A murmuration of starlings at Wimpole

A murmuration of starlings is an amazing sight with a large swooping mass of thousands of birds in the sky above you.

So why do starlings form such large flocks?

Starlings do this for many reasons: grouping together offers safety in numbers which means they individually protect themselves from predators like the sparrow hawk and peregrine falcon; predators find it hard to target any one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands; they also flock to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as the whereabouts of good feeding areas.

When and where at Wimpole?

Here at Wimpole starling numbers have been increasing year on year, especially since the arable in-hand farm converted to organic, we also have a large amount of permanent pasture and our own livestock too.

  • Autumn roosts usually begin to form in November, though this varies from site to site and some can begin as early as September.
  • More and more birds will flock together as the months go on and the number of starlings in a roost can swell to around 100,000 in some places – at Wimpole we have approximately 10,000.
  • Early evening, just as the sun is going down, seems to be best, just before dusk, however they can be earlier if the sky is cloudy and the light dimmer.
  • They are roosting in the Octagon pond which is full of reeds and drop straight in before spreading out among the reeds.
  • They also make a tremendous noise when roosting.