I moved into my rented house last May, and of course I set about feeding the birds in my new garden straight away. I established some of the familiar faces of the garden bird world within a few months, but it was only at the beginning of this year that I started to see Starlings.
Their brazen nature is hard to miss and makes for entertaining viewing - arriving in a small colonies to crowd the feeders and chatter noisily on the fence, before lining up on surrounding roofs. But it's this kind of behaviour which makes them not so popular with a lot of people - damaging fruit crops and dominating bird feeders.
But, amusing as they are, I had no idea what they were really up to - nesting in my roof! It started to dawn on me that they were spending more time on my roof than on my neighbours'... then that they seemed to be disappearing into the guttering somewhere... and gathering up dry grass in my garden... waking me up early by scrabbling about above my bedroom ceiling... but I still hadn't twigged that they could actually be inside the loft space... until I started hearing raucous cheeping via the loft hatch a couple of days ago!
Wow, is it loud! Every few minutes I just know from the noise that a parent must have arrived with a very tasty-looking insect. It sounds like there could be multiple nests up there, but it could just as easily be only one - I'd hate to hazard a guess!
So by the time I moved in here last year, the previous brood had already fledged and I'd missed the event. Well this year I have front row seats! I've never even been inside the loft - not having a long ladder or much need to be there - but perhaps after fledging in a few weeks I will look for the evidence.
Despite the noise, I'm happy to be so close to the action. Starlings are red-listed after all, their numbers declining a whopping 66% since the 1970s, so I feel like I'm "helping" in some way. It sounds like there may be some roof repairs to be done, though, so I might feel differently if I was the homeowner.
I have informed my landlord, but of course it's illegal to disturb or move any bird's nest which is in use. If and when someone does come to check it out I'll be sure to ask if I can put some nest boxes up near the roof, as I hate the thought of "my" Starlings not being able to come back year after year.