The starlings stake their claim

It’s been the coldest few days so far this autumn (or should that be winter now?) with temperatures down to well below freezing recently  (-4.9C!).  So why is there interest in the nestbox?

It all looks quiet in there..

What have I seen, and heard in there every morning for the last few weeks?  Time to read on and find out..

You’ll notice I didn’t name the nestbox in the opening frame.  There’s a rather obvious reason for that.  If I’d said ” why is there interest in the starling nestbox?” it would have rather given it away quite quickly..  (I’ve just realised that the title of the post gives it away anyway!) 

Hopefully you guessed that we’ve had starlings visiting.  If not, it’s time to go back to the school of bloomin’ obvious and re-take the ‘it’s in front of your nose’ lessons!  I’m pretty sure you will all have guessed though, so I’ll now take you through it from the very start.

Back in May (I know, seems ages ago!) you may remember we had tha saga of Mrs Starling and her long days waiting for Mr Right – who turned up only days after she had given up waiting.  They never did get to meet, as far as I know anyway and it wasn’t exactly a Mills and Boon classic.

Mrs Starling.. Getting fed up waiting...

Fast forward to early October.  I went into the back garden one morning and caught a glimpse of a starling as it belted off over the house – and I was sure it had come from the nestbox.   A few days of checking the camera view revealed that something was going in every morning – the straw and a couple of feathers that lined the base had been moved each time I checked.

Then, lying in bed one saturday morning I heard a Starling – singing!  The nestbox is on the wall outside the bedroom window, so I rather guessed that answered the question about what had been using the box.  It’s not a full-on repertoire as yet, but it is a tad early to start setting up a territory I suppose! 

Have a listen on the video below…

It seems that there are two starlings.  They turn up at any time between 7.30am and about 9 am – stay for about 20  mins then head off – not to return again until the following morning.  That process has now been going on everyday for a month.

It’s not particularly all sweetness and light either..  The two frequently have a right royal dust up – complete with masses of squawking and fighting.  They do keep coming back together every morning though for a repeat performance.  I’m assuming it’s a pair and this is normal behaviour for starlings, but it will be interesting to see what they are like in the Spring.  If they fight like that with a nest full of eggs around then I don’t rate their chances of actually hatching any!

Watch the video below to see what I mean.  It’s all quiet until about 1 minute in, then whoosh!! 

Why are they coming in every morning, having a song (and a scrap!) and then flying off until the next day?  My guess, and I could well be barking up entirley the wrong tree here, is that this is indeed a pair and that they have selected their nest site for next year already.  They have stated their claim every morning to the other starlings around so that it is very clear they have taken it over.  During the day there is a marked absence of starlings anywhere in the neighbourhood and at night I guess they are all part of the thousands that roost in the Poole harbour reed beds.

So, it could well be the case that this pair will be raising their family outside our bedroom window next spring -if they can sort out their differences by then!

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