The starling population has fallen by over 80% in recent years, meaning that they are now on the critical list of UK birds most at risk. The decline is believed to be due to the loss of permanent pasture, increased use of farm chemicals and a shortage of food and nesting sites in many parts of the UK.
So it was an extremely pleasant surprise at the end of a hard day’s toil, having dripped with sweat and blood in the unusual temperatures for this time of year in England, to see a very large murmuration of starlings. Why the blood though? It was because of those cursed thorn trees, both May and Sloe, that we were cutting down around the Octagon, and it is this same pond that is full of reeds where the starlings come to roost. Why do they do this? God knows … it might be just for fun or it could be a safety mechanism to ward off birds of prey like the sparrow hawk (one of which incidentally we saw fly off). Apparently it all gets quite confusing for the falcons and hawks to single out a potential victim.
I have to say that I haven’t seen a murmuration of starlings for many a year and especially not one of this size (though they can be 100,000 strong in some places). We watched the flock of starlings grow progressively bigger as, every so often, small bands of ten to twenty birds would fly in and join the flock. It would appear that the Octagon is considered a suitable venue to come home to and roost in.
So, what about the murder on the estate then?! Well we found this rabbit, it did not die of natural causes or by accident but rather was brutally killed by some other agent. Any ideas who the murderer was?