In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Starling

Last updated: 21 February 2011

In this clip from Iolo's Welsh Safari, the team visit Aberystwyth Pier to watch an amazing natural spectacle unfold as 1000's of starlings descend on the pier at dusk - up to 20,000 birds in some instances.

No-one knows for sure why they do this but it might be for safety in numbers, as protection from predators such as peregrine falcons and sparrowhawks.

Another theory is that it's a sociable act, as the birds sort themselves out into individual groups before landing for the night.

Once one of the country's most common birds, the starling has suffered a 70% drop in its numbers over the last 25 years.

It is known primarily for two things: the spectacular 'murmurations' of thousands of birds wheeling before the roost at dusk, and their ability to mimic the calls of other birds and mechanical noises.

Its plumage, although black from a distance is actually iridescent with a green-purple sheen to its wings and back. It is smaller than a blackbird, with a short pointed tail and triangular wings.

The starling feeds on scraps, seeds and from feeders but will also probe into lawns for worms and grubs.


Weatherman walks

Derek Brockway

Have a go

Try one of the walks from Derek's latest walking series on BBC One Wales.

Wildlife

Toads by Brian Stone

In your garden

Find out about the wildlife you can find on your doorstep.

Weird wildlife

A fin whale

Wildlife photos

A gallery featuring rare and unusual wildlife sightings in Wales.

Wildlife map of Wales

BBC Wales Nature map

Explore Wales

Zoom in and discover wildlife in your area with our interactive map.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.