CBC Chat Forum Thread

AuthorTopic: Sturnus not so vulgaris
Noel Elms Sturnus not so vulgarisposted at 17/06/2013 13:51:20

Resisting the temptation to 'twitch' the Roller as I drove past the hastily parked vehicles at Edgefield Woods this morning, I spent some time instead  watching a flock of about 200 Starlings feeding in the Eye Field at Cley. I'm only too aware that my eyesight is no longer as keen as it was but I sincerely hope it is not so poor as to prevent me finding more than 10 juveniles among the feeding birds. This dismaying ratio of juveniles to adults is echoed by my own albeit small sample size of monitoring 3 pairs which fledged only 2 young between them.

A survey carried out by the Scottish Rural University College earlier this year claimed to have counted 2 million Crane fly larvae per hectare in grassland, more than double the expected number. Clearly, the leather jackets in my lawn have not read this report as they are virtually if not completely absent and the local Starlings have tried to raise their young almost exclusively on Sunflower hearts. The Starlings I watched this morning seemed to have similar difficulty in finding leather jackets as the probe to prey capture success rate was extremely low and the flock was constantly on the move to find a better feeding area.

May be its the old cynic in me but I note that the above survey result appeared in a press release from Dow Agrosciences, a global leader in crop protection (their words not mine) and the company is urging farmers to buy more pesticide to treat grassland now as well as in the autumn when, by Dow's own admission, treatment is most effective.

Chris Abrams Re: Sturnus not so vulgarisposted at 17/06/2013 14:56:36

Having just returned from China where the murky smog of Shanghai still hosts a very healthy (maybe not quite the right word) urban population of tree sparrows it seems very clear to me that the demise of our native birds is hugely down to crop spraying. However, why London parks cannot support a population of house sparrows defeats me! Any ideas?

Noel Elms Re: Re: Sturnus not so vulgaris posted at 17/06/2013 19:16:41


I guess there several reasons why London parks do not support a population of sparrows but for starters, how about the removal of dead trees in order to defeat litigious claimants should a falling twig happen to land on their head.

May be not in my lifetime but I predict that unless there is a change of emphasis by our wildlife trusts and other 'conservation' bodies, many species which we presently regard as common will provoke the frenzy of viewing given to the Roller today.


Chris Abrams Re: Re: Re: Sturnus not so vulgaris posted at 17/06/2013 22:30:20

Hi Noel,

I agree wholeheartedly and remain grateful that I wasn't born any later!

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