Starlings vs Helicopters

Friday, December 04, 2009

Yes this is about Starlings again, rightly so. The media seem to have been  quite keen on Starlings this week, but only really for the big shows that they put on at roosting time and rightly so, but the Wandsworth Bridge birds are not very good at this. They don’t spend too much time in the air once at the site and get into place reasonably quickly. Why is this so?


Just down river from Wandsworth Bridge there is a heliport.  The helicopters use the river as an initial navigation aid (or so it would seem) and come over the bridge at no more than a couple of hundred feet.  Just the kind of height that a nice flock of Starlings would like to wheel around and give a show to a hardy patch birder.

That's my theory anyway.

On Tuesday however this was all changed when a Sparrowhawk was showing interest in the murmuration.  They stayed out and made a couple of half decent groups in the air, but stayed quite dispersed within the flock rather than the tight knit version they normally have.  And they climbed - higher than I've seen them round here.  Thankfully no helicopters came by and once the raptor realised that it wasn't going to get a meal it left and they all piled in under the bridge.

The obligatory photograph of a bird that I have not been talking about follows...

A Cormorant doing that thing that they do.  With the wings and all that.


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