Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Starlings perform aerial ballet


Starlings' spectacular aerial

Starlings are proving a major draw at a wetland centre in Gloucestershire, with flocks of up to 20,000 performing an aerial display at dusk.

The starlings form a large flock and swirl, to look for prey and to avoid and confuse their predators, which include Peregrine Falcons.

The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) centre in Slimbridge is home to the birds during the winter.

Dave Paynter, WWT reserve manager, said the spectacle was later than expected.

Starlings roost where it is warm, with the Severn Estuary a favourite location
Starlings are migrant birds which breed on the continent and fly to the UK for winter
Britain is quite far north for migratory birds but it warmer because of the gulf stream
"We were a little disappointed earlier in the season because they didn't seem to be roosting here.

"It has been especially exciting watching them being hunted by birds of prey which is a regular sight.

There is really only a limited period to see this spectacle before they migrate," he added.

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