Starling murmuration dazzles onlookers in Norwich

Starling murmuration dazzles onlookers in Norwich

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City centre workers in Norwich have been enjoying a glimpse of one of the most fascinating displays in wildlife - a murmuration of Starlings.

These are a fairly common occurrence in countryside locations such as reed beds, but up to 3,000 of the birds have been gathering at the heart of the urban metropolis recently to fly in formation as dusk falls and then roost on an office building.

Onlookers excitedly videoed the phenomenon as they queued in traffic and waited for public transport to take them home, with some saying the Starlings were so low as they dipped and dived that the vibrations of their wings could clearly be heard.

Starlings are thought to perform in these murmurations as a method of protecting themselves from predators including birds of prey - and indeed, a pair of Peregrine Falcons are known to roost on nearby Norwich Cathedral.

Watching naturalists suggested that the birds might have relocated to the city centre to keep warm in the current cold snap, as the urban heat island effect means such areas can easily be two or three degrees warmer than the open countryside.

Starlings are on the Red List of birds of conservation concern, as their numbers have dropped by more than three-quarters since the 1970s due to declining food sources, loss of nesting sites as wooden fascias on houses have been replaced by more durable plastics, and more land being given over to intensive farming.

This leaves them with fewer places to take shelter and also breed, which might be another reason why they are looking for alternative suitable locations.

Starling murmurations have also recently been enjoyed over reed beds in the Derbyshire village of Stoney Middleton.

You can do your bit to help these beautiful birds by putting out specialist food such as our Peanut Cake Tube Hi-Protein Starling Bar in your garden, as well as providing Gothenburg Starling Nest Boxes to encourage them to breed.