Wild Harris

Starling

Starling 2 CReddick.jpgStarling    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The starling is one of the most common birds to be seen in Harris.

In summer their feathers have a glossy green-puple sheen. In winter, the feathers change and they are spotted. This bird has the summer feathers, or plumage.

Large flocks of starlings can be seen feeding on the machair – they push their beaks into the ground looking for worms and insect larvae.

Starling 1 CReddick.jpgStarling    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

They are very good at imitating things – like a parrot, only better. They can copy the sounds of other birds like buzzard and corncrake, and they can also make sounds like hens and even cats!

They nest in holes in walls, or under the eaves of buildings or even in holes in sand dunes – anywhere they can get inside to build a nest.

Starling 3 CReddick.jpgStarling    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The eggs are bright blue, and when the young leave the nest they are brown with a white chin patch.

by Alison Tyler