Archive for the ‘Marazion Marsh’ Category

During the winter months starlings perform what is called a murmuration. Thousand of birds gather over their roosting site just before dusk and swoop and swirl as one big mass performing amazing acrobatics and creating a beautiful spectacle well worth watching. Possible reasons for this extraordinary behaviour are that grouping together offers protection from predators such as buzzards and peregrine falcons, that it helps them keep warm and also allows them to exchange information about good feeding sites etc. As the weeks go by more and more birds flock together reaching numbers as high as 100,000 in some areas. Unfortunately starling numbers on the whole have been declining since the early 1980s across much of Northern Europe and the UK. This is probably due to the loss of permanent pasture, increased use of farm chemicals and a shortage of food and nesting sites. For this reason the starling is red listed as a bird of high conservation concern and is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/starling/roosting.aspx).
I am lucky enough to live close to a great viewing spot for murmurations: Marazion Marsh. This reserve has been under the management of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) since the 1990s. It contains the largest reed bed in the whole of Cornwall and is home to more than 250 bird, 500 plant, 500 insect and 18 mammal species (https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/find-a-reserve/reserves-a-z/reserves-by-name/m/marazionmarsh/about.aspx).


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