Sunday, 31 May 2009

Those noisy Starlings

I must admit, much as I like to see the Starlings and their broods visit the garden there are two things about them which annoy me. One is the amount of food they waste. When they land on the feeders you can see seeds or pieces of fat ball raining down as they viciously peck away at everything. The other is the noise! The calls of the hungry young ones is never ending right through the daylight hours and when they are a few feet away from the back door it can get very wearing after an hour or so.

The new ground feeder has been accepted by most of the ground feeding birds as well as being taken over from time to time by the Starlings as can be seen in this short video I shot yesterday. Fortunately the back door was shut so the constant cries of 'feed me' are in the background. The video is straight from the camcorder without any processing here.

Even when they are scared off the feeders they only go as far as the 60ft tall Leylandii at the bottom of the garden and sit on the top branches waiting. Occasionally a parent will dive down, grab something and then speed back up to feed a youngster.


A few of the older juveniles are beginning to feed themselves so the noise should lessen fairly soon and maybe they will start looking for food over a wider area.

Hedgehog Visits:

Honey and Henry continue to visit. I see Honey every night on Hoggy Cam. Last night when Bobby went in the back garden he found both of them together. A short while later when I went out to check they were still together and Henry was making very loud snuffling noises. As usual they were nose to nose but as soon as I got close enough to record the sound he stopped! I will manage to record it one of these nights.


  1. Wow, that video is incredible. I have never seen so many starlings visit a garden at any one time. You should send that video to springwatch, they would be very impressed.

    Today is a gardening day for us as the weather is spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. My goodness, what a commotion! I can understand your feelings about the starlings ~ doing what they do best! Your ground feeder is definitely a hit. That's a terrific shot of them atop the trees ~ especially the fanned wing and the seemingly innocent expressions on the young ones faces ~

    Glad to hear that Henry and Honey are sniffling and snuffling along well together. :)

  3. Hi again John :-) Yep… I have a similar soundtrack as I write this. However, thankfully, I don’t have quite as many as you do visiting at the same time… phew!Great to hear the new feeder is going down a treat :-)

    Ah… the loud snuffling sound of the hogs. Yep... I’ve been hearing that and trying to record it too! I don’t try every night but would love to get it. Could have had it last week but, like Simon King and his team trying to get polecats, I had recording issues and when I got them sorted it was too late. I had a wonderful opportunity twice the same night. I plan to post on it soon. I hope one of us manages to get this sound recorded one night – it is fascinating to hear! Good luck :-D

  4. Thanks Joe. The lighting was just right for the video. That wasn't all the Starlings. There were more on the feeders!

    I keep pottering in the garden. Yesterday was a weed spraying day, especially on the drive where they are breaking up the old tarmac.

    Thanks Glo. The one on the tree was just coming in to land. I tried to film them swooping down but they are far too fast.

    Yes. The Hedgehogs seem to be coming on nicely - must be the peanut snacks for supper. :)

    Hi Shirl. There were more of the noisy b..s on the feeders. I counted 16 young ones and then there were all the parents!

    I am fascinated by that loud snuffling. I have tried to find out what it means. One of us should write to Springwatch and ask :)

    Just had another search on Hedgehog sounds - interesting comments on:
    and here

    Also just found this blog - have you looked at it at all? Lovely movies and photos - not just Hedgehogs.

  5. I really enjoyed your comments and video about the starlings. What a gang of ruffians! No manners at all!! Is there anything left at all for the other birds?

  6. Thanks Mick. I wonder if you have ever seen a video of Starlings when they arrive in their Winter roosting areas. They can literally arrive in thousands every night, swirling around in the sky at dusk before descending to the ground. I have only seen films of it on the TV and it is awesome. In the morning they go their individual ways in small groups and meet up again at dusk. Imagine the sound of thousands in one place!!

    If you are interested there is a magnificent video on YouTube:

  7. ...Starlings behave just a badly sometimes over here. They can swoop in and decimate a feeder of its contents in no time flat. They are also good at terrorizing the other birds away from the feeders. (The babies in your video, however, still are cute!) It's also fun to watch them in swarms when they flock together in winter.

  8. Great video John, superb quality.
    I sympathise with you about the noise. As I write this, I've 25 of the noisy things out in the garden. It's deafening!

  9. Hi Kelly. Thanks for visiting. It is difficult to get annoyed with the cute young Starlings even if they never stop yelling for food. As you say they don't bother if another bird is feeding. They just charge in. The little birds here have got use to it and rest in a nearby tree and dive in again as soon as they see a gap.

  10. Thank you Keith. The Hitachi DVD Cam is capable of really good results - when the operator gets things right! Also the 30X optical zoom seems excellent and enables me get close in to the action.
    I think many of us are suffering from Starling invasions at the moment. Fun to start with but the quicker they grow up the better. :)

  11. Oh those pesky Starlings! They are eating all the fat treats in a few hours, leaving nothing for the poor Tits and the noise does get somewhat wearisome! The Blackbird in the foreground wasn't going to be put off his worm though was he?

  12. Hi Jan. They certainly can get very wearisome at times. I do find that with the number of feeders I have on the Birdy Bistro that the small ones do manage to find the occasional gap to dive in to. Very little puts off the Blackbirds. Not me or Bobby. They just hop away a bit and then return as soon as possible. Even when I go out to scare the Starlings away for a while I get that one eyed look as though to say About Time Too and he carries on feeding.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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