Saving The Starling

Petersfield Men’s Shed is really proud to have been featured in the Alton Herald on Thursday 13th June 2024.

The members of the men’s shed are helping to make 40 Starling boxes that will be installed on houses around Newton Valence. “The startling is one of England’s most romantic birds but is now on the list of endangered species as their population has plummeted by 53%”

Petersfield handymen ticking the right boxes to save treasured bird

By Paul Ferguson 

13th June 2024

Nick Broom and Rob Brailey of Petersfield Men’s Shed with the first batch of Starling nest boxes heading to Newton Valence. (Petersfield Men’s Shed)

A group of East Hampshire handymen is boxing clever in the bid to save a treasured bird from extinction.

The importance of saving the Starling is being hammered home by the Petersfield Men’s Shed as they’ve received an order for 40 nest boxes.

The custom-made boxes will be installed on houses around Newton Valence this autumn under the close supervision of ornithologist Dr Francis Buner.

It’s part of a plan by the Newton Valence Nature Group to create a “great new Starling murmuration” in the skies above the village between Selborne and the A32.

The Starling is one of England’s most romantic birds having inspired a Hans Holbein portrait, a Mozart Piano Concerto and a Tennyson poem.

But this treasured species is now on the IUCN Red List of endangered species as its population has plummeted by 53 per cent by 1995.

“In Newton Valence we are lucky to hear them ‘clapping their tiny castanets’ as they roost in our chimney pots,” said a spokesperson for the NVNG.

“We have a unique opportunity to create a new constellation in the skies above our parish, by providing the nest boxes our endangered Starlings need to safely raise their broods year after year.”

The village is fast becoming one of the county’s most ecologically important areas as efforts to protect and boost the toad population have also been recognised.

Its pond has been designed a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in recognition of its significant toad population by the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre.

Hullam Lane – an ancient sunken lane and an important toad migration route – has also been designated a Road Verge of Ecological Importance by the same group.

The designations will help the efforts of Toad Patrol, working alongside the pond committee, to protect and enhance the habitat for biodiversity.