Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 4 (1900).djvu/159

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By H.E. Forrest, Hon. Sec. Caradoc and S.V. Field Club.

Starlings are so familiar to us all, whether living in town or country, that it would be natural to suppose we know all about their habits and economy, and that it would be almost impossible to find anything fresh to say about them. Up to a very recent date the writer was of the same opinion; but certain events led to his making investigations, and these have resulted in the penning of the present article, which he hopes will at least add to our knowledge of the movements of these interesting birds at different seasons of the year.

Perhaps no habit of the Starling has been more often described than their collecting in multitudes in autumn to roost together in reed-beds, &c. This may conveniently be made the startingpoint in our investigations, and Shropshire the field of our enquiries.

The following is a list of the principal "roosts" in the county, with details as to the character of each place, and the name of the observer who has reported on the same:—

Alkmond Pool, two miles north of Shrewsbury.—A small sheet of water with trees on one side, and beds of osiers and reeds on projecting tongues of land on opposite sides. The Starlings roost on the reeds in tens of thousands.—H.E. Forrest.

Moreton Corbet, six miles north-east of Shrewsbury.—A coppice called Dawson's Rough; one of the biggest roosts in the county. The Starlings here probably number over a million, and roost on the hazel underwood. Pheasants roost on the big trees, but the odour of the Starlings and their droppings causes them to quit each year. The keepers have tried to drive away the Starlings by shooting, &c, but without any final success.—W.H. Parry.

Colemere Mere, Ellesmere.—A large sheet of water with extensive reed-beds. The Starlings used to resort to the reeds

  1. See also: note on p. 479 (Wikisource ed.).