The starling is smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings. Starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens. They are quite speckled really. Their flight is fast and direct and they walk and run confidently on the ground. Noisy and gregarious, starlings spend a lot of the year in flocks. In our garden we have generally about 16 to 20 but when the time comes for them to move on, the whole of the sycamore tree becomes alive with them. Hundreds gather. It amazes me that they know exactly when to gather and where before flying off. Suddenly the air is filled with the chattering of hundreds of birds who all take off as one. Brilliant to see.

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