S is for... Starlings

Brockholes Nature Reserve is a stand out location to view wondrous starling murmurations. These resplendent visual demonstrations take place throughout the winter months, and are a must see event for visitors.
Starling - Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson 

During the winter months’ large numbers of starlings begin to gather at Brockholes from right across the continent. As dusk descends the starlings begin to roost, on masse they propel into the air and commence their impressive visual demonstration, before rapidly gliding down into the reed beds to go to sleep for the night. This theatrical moment in nature however, is not just visually impressive it serves a significant purpose. By gathering in large numbers and swirling with reckless abandon, they effectively protect themselves from predators. As predators find it hard to identify any one single target, and are wary of approaching such a large body. Rather spectacularly some roosts have been known to contain thousands of birds.

Starling - Pat Atchison

Pat Atchison 

Starlings are highly intelligent creatures, and travel extremely quickly through the air with a powerful and strong flight capability. Starlings, are also noted for their highly sociable nature, as they are most comfortable when part of a large community. Moreover, as a result of their highly amiable nature starlings have an exceptionally complex communicative system. They are renowned for their mimicking habits, whereby they impersonate car alarms and other native birds. And there is no better place to listen to these wonderfully unique birds than at Brockholes Nature Reserve during the winter months.


Starlings have a largely variable diet, and consume a wide variety of different insects, alongside fruit and berries. Finally, if you do get the chance to head down to Brockholes, make sure you attempt to get a closer look at one of these magnificent creatures. As up close they truly are a sight to behold, with their purple and green mottled feathers they radiate, especially in the winter sunshine.