Rare rosy starlings spotted in UK gardens ‘possibly due to warmer temperatures’

·2 min read

Rare pink-bodied birds not usually found in the UK are turning up in gardens across the country, possibly due to warmer temperatures.

The rosy starlings spend most of the year in eastern Europe and Asia, but in recent years have begun visiting Britain – usually in late spring early summer.

This year the RSPB says it has received reports of sightings across the country from Dorset to Rathlin Island off the coast of Northern Ireland.

The bird’s pink breast and pink beak makes it easily identifiable next to the common starling whose flocks they join in the UK.

Wildlife experts encouraged the public to ‘keep their eyes peeled’ for the rare birds (Martin Creasser)
Wildlife experts encouraged the public to ‘keep their eyes peeled’ for the rare birds (Martin Creasser)

It remains unclear why the birds sometimes visit Britain, but the RSPB said it had been hypothesised that warmer weather in Europe and the UK may have caused the birds to overshoot and extend their range in recent years.

Given the fact that climate change will likely make warm, settled conditions in late spring and early summer more regular in western Europe, it seems possible that rosy starling appearances may become regulars on British and Irish shores at this time of year in the future, a spokesperson for the RSPB said.

One theory is that warmer springs allow the birds’ preferred food source, insects, to travel further west, the RSPB added.

“It’s always so wonderful to hear that rosy starlings are visiting the UK,” said Katie Nethercoat, RSPB wildlife adviser.

“Rosy starlings often hang around with other starlings and turn up in gardens, so be sure to keep your feeders filled and your eyes peeled.”

Ms Nethercoat said the birds were fans of suet balls, and liked bathing and drinking in freshwater.

The sightings come just weeks after the UK welcomed seven bee-eaters to a quarry in Norfolk.

The brightly coloured birds are also rare visitors to Britain and come from southern Europe and Africa.

The RSPB said it is thought they might be in with a chance of nesting at the site in Norfolk.