Posted on: 15th November 2013 No Comments

Here is another great story by Brindley Hosken, a farmer from St.Martin…

Brindley Hosken- a portrait by Tod Welch

Brindley Hosken- a portrait by Tod Welch


Sometimes when I go outside there is a starling sitting on the lawn. It looks a plain bird at first sight but when you look closer you can see the iridescent shades of greens and purples among its plumage and the flecks of white on the tips of its feathers. Quite a beautiful bird really. It looks at me with its bright eyes and then flies away, clearly unimpressed.

Sometimes, when thousands and thousands of starlings get together they put on a magnificent display of close formation flying called a murmuration (try goggling ”starlings on Otmoor” for a spectacular video). They all fly in one vast swarm creating intricate black and grey spirograph patterns in the sky. One of natures true spectacles. They then disappear into the distance.

I know where they go!

They fly to the nearest dairy farm and land in the surrounding trees chattering excitedly, like a bunch of five year olds at their first birthday party. The food has been put out for the cows, a lovely sweet mix of grass silage, maize silage, wheat and soya worth maintenance plus 25 litres. Then, down they swoop, thousands of them. You cannot see the silage because of the seething mass of starlings. They pick away at the maize grains, the wheat and the soya, dropping their ordure as they go. I shout at them and put my hand on the gate and feel the starling guano slide up between my fingers. They fly away, leaving a soiled mess of silage behind with that unmistakable smell. They have not gone far, their next port of call is the maize clamp, they land on the face and eat the maize grains and pull the rest out, dropping it on the floor, by the next day it will be full of secondary fermentation and ruined. For their finale they all fly over me laughing, splat, splat, splat, Yuk!

I know they are beautiful birds.

I know they are one of natures most spectacular displays.

I know they are supposed to be an endangered species and on the red list.

BUT, I hate every last one of the filthy little blighters.

by Brindley Hosken

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