The Best Bird Bath for Starlings
Over the years starlings have often been viewed as more of a pest than a welcome visitor to gardens. Bird lovers have always relished the sight of blue tits, greenfinches and robins in their back yards, but not starlings. However, these birds may now be viewed in a different light as their numbers have been dwindling rapidly.
The starling population in the UK has decreased by a staggering 79% over the last 25 years, making these birds a rarer and rarer sight. There is nothing like rarity to make people sit up and take notice when it comes to wildlife. Starlings have been severely impacted by the loss of nesting sites and the reduction in the sources of insects that they feed on. It could be that now is the time to do everything we can to create the right environment for Starlings to prosper.
One way in which garden owners can help wild birds is to invest in a bird bath. These provide a valuable source of fresh drinking water and somewhere for birds to wash and preen. But bird baths can also represent a threat to garden wildlife.
Householders with bird baths or other standing water in their gardens are being warned to add ramps to them. There has been an increasing incidence of starlings drowning because they have mistaken bodies of still water for solid surfaces. Water butts, small ponds and bird baths can all represent a threat to the birds if there is no movement on the surface of the water. It is vital that birds are able to get out of the water so the inclusion of stones or a ramp will really help. Bird bath fountains or drippers are also a good investment as they will create movement on the surface of the water and so make it easier to identify.
There have been many reports of mass drownings involving 10 or more starlings. The deaths tend to occur in spring and early summer and usually involve younger birds which are inexperienced in identifying water. Where incidents of mass drowning have been investigated, the birds have shown no sign of underlying disease. Starlings are a very social species of bird and this may explain why multiple birds have died together.
Birds of a Feather
Starlings tend to flock together which may lead to overcrowding in ponds and bird baths. This can result in a mass panic when the birds realise that they are not on solid ground.
The Best Bird Bath
Starlings are now officially an endangered species in the UK and so it is crucial that our gardens are safe havens for them. Designing gardens which attract more insects will help as will the provision of food and drinking water. The best bird bath or pond is a safe one which birds can easily escape from if they make a mistake. Small measures could help to preserve the starling population in the UK.