Starling murmuration dropping in on residents

Friday, 11th January, 2019 12:30pm

Starling murmuration dropping in on residents

Starlings over Nobber

Louise Walsh

The mesmerising murmuration of starlings in Co. Meath is attracting hundreds of visitors each day but there is literally a downside for residents - they're getting rained on with droppings!
The amazing nightly sight of tens of thousands of the birds swooping and gliding in breathtaking formations has put the village of Nobber on the map as visitor numbers at dusk continue to increase to witness the 15 minute spectacle.
However, residents near to the forest where the birds congregate are having to mop up a lot of droppings from house windows, cars and even themselves!

Kenneth Clarke who lives adjacent to the three-acre home of the birds says the murmurations have increased each year since it started about four years ago.
"I've lived here all my life and have never seen anything like it, up to about four years ago when we started scratching our heads in wonder of what was going on," he said.
"Each year, the number of birds have grown.  The murmuration starts very small in October and grows and grows.  Then one day, generally after the clocks go forward, you come out and they have all disappeared.

"It's an absolute amazing sight to see and people are coming from all over, stopping in the village to ask where the birds are.
"I've been told by bird-watchers that some of the starlings come from as far away as Asia and they come together to share information and fend off any birds of prey that may have them in their sights.

"Indeed some of the evenings, you will hear the squeals of the hawks nearby. 
"The only downside is the amount of droppings.  I've been pooed on loads of times as thousands of birds fly over the house and, depending on the wind, the front of the house and the windows can get destroyed.

"I had to sit in my van for ten minutes the other day as the constant poo hit the roof.  I couldn't get out until they were gone.  My car is white so you can imagine the state of it," he laughed.

"I'm constantly going for the hose but, as someone said, it's a small price to pay for such an annual phenomenon on our doorstep."
Meanwhile local councillor Eugene Cassidy advised caution for the many visitors parking along the verge of local roads. "It's fantastic to see this amazing sight and all the visitors that it is attracting to Nobber.  Sure we are the D4 of Meath now," he laughed. "However there are a huge number of people parking up for that short period of time and I would just like to remind visitors to be mindful of the extra volume of traffic, especially when parking along the sides of the road."