Starling work

Get up close and personal with this fascinating bird thanks to a wonderful new initiative from The Brighton Pier Group


by Tim Unwin |

One of the UK’s best-known Starling murmurations has got its own dedicated observation post.

The flocks that gather to roost on Brighton’s Palace Pier between November and March every year have long drawn birders and curious passers-by, and now Brighton’s Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has cut the ribbon to officially open #StarlingsRoost, complete with a night-vision camera with livefeed, enabling birdwatchers to observe the Starlings roosting. It’s also streamed online on the Pier’s website.

Starlings are thought to group together at dusk to exchange vital information about food sources and local feeding grounds, as well as to confuse predators such as Sparrowhawks and Peregrines, before all huddling together under the Pier to keep warm.

Falson Strike! A Starling murmuration under attack ©Alex Bamford

#StarlingsRoost also features murmuration artwork by local photographers, information boards about Starlings, including how to best protect their natural environment and stop numbers falling, plus origami stations for children to make and decorate their own Starling to hang from #StarlingsRoost’s ceiling.

Caroline Lucas MP said: “It’s a real pleasure to open #StarlingsRoost on Brighton’s Palace Pier today, not only to celebrate our local Starling murmuration which brings so much joy to the city, but also to help highlight dwindling numbers of these incredible birds, and how we can all help them survive in the future. Simple actions like feeding garden birds through the winter, buying organic fruit and vegetables and helping raise awareness will all make a positive difference to our local Starling populations.”

From left, Marc Abraham OBE, Caroline Lucas MP and Anne Ackford, CEO of Brighton Pier Group ©

Anne Ackord, CEO of The Brighton Pier Group plc, said: “Brighton’s Starling murmurations have been hugely popular with locals and visitors to the city for decades, so it made sense to invite a local group of passionate starling enthusiasts and photographers, who assemble every night in winter to watch the murmurations, to work with the Pier to honour these special birds, and the result is the #StarlingsRoost! We hope the public enjoy our new free exhibit, learn about starling conservation, help raise awareness, and share photos and videos of the starlings on their social media platforms.”

#StarlingsRoost’s opening ceremony was also marked by Tim Squire from Sussex Ornithological Society reading the poem Starling, written by Rob Cowen, accompanied by Brighton musician Ben Walker. The #StarlingsRoost is also supported by Brighton media vet and animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham OBE, photographer Paul Cahill, artists Steve Geliot and Louise McCurdy, Phoenix Art Space, Brighton Photography Gallery, Latest TV, designated urban biosphere reserve The Living Coast, as well as Sussex-based wildlife rescue sanctuary Bird Aid, to which a percentage of monies raised by refreshments and picture sales from #StarlingsRoost will be donated.

For more info and to view the starlings under Brighton’s Palace Pier visit: www.brightonpier.co.uk/eat-and-drink/starlings-roost

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