One of autumn and winter’s most breathtaking sights, the starling murmuration involves thousands of birds swooping and diving in unison before they settle down to roost.
It’s thought that starlings take part in this mass aerial stunt for several reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers. When there are thousands of birds moving together, it makes it harder for predators to target a single bird. It’s also warmer. The bigger the flock, the more warmth there is to share when they are roosting on cold, winter nights. Experts also believe that starlings use the group to share valuable information such as where to find good feeding sites.
When and where can you see them?
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 weeks go on and the number of starlings in a roost can swell to around 100,000 in some places.
Early evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see them. They roost in places that are sheltered from harsh weather and predators, such as woodlands and reedbeds.
Several of the RSPB reserves make great viewing spots including Ham Wall in Somerset, Marazion Marsh in Cornwall and Leighton Moss in Carnforth. Other popular sites include Gretna Green and Brighton Pier.
What do you need to bring?
You don’t need any special equipment as it’s all visible just by looking up at the sky. Be prepared to stand around in the cold though so make sure you wear plenty of warm layers, stout footwear and thick socks. Cosyfeet’s Moose and Livingstone boots are ideal as they’re windproof and 100% waterproof. Try teaming them with a pair of Thermal Softhold® Seam-free Knee High Socks for the ultimate in warmth. The murmuration finishes as it’s getting dark so it’s worth taking a torch to help you get back to your car or home safely.
Cosyfeet’s Moose boots will keep your feet comfy, warm and dry