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Rare albino starlings spotted in garden in Minster, Sheppey

​​​​​​A rare species of bird has been spotted by an animal lover in her back garden.

Carole Stanton noticed a pair of albino starlings sitting on her fence and lawn in Harps Avenue, Minster on Sheppey, and managed to capture one of them on video.

White species of starling are rarely spotted today.

A report by dedicated bird website, the Avian Report, found survey leucistic ('washed out’) and albino-coloured birds as accounting for one in every 30,000.

Meanwhile Adrian Thomas, of the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), previously told KentOnline: “All white starlings are a real rarity.

“We would probably see more of them, but because they look so different and obvious they are a target for predators.”

The bird's white feathers are caused by a lack of melanin.

This is a pigment which would normally result iun a darker colouring in its feathers.

The albino starling was spotted by Minster's Carole Stanton
The albino starling was spotted by Minster's Carole Stanton

Starling numbers in general have been declining dramatically since the 1980s, according to The Woodland Trust.

Continued threats from predators has seen them declared as a Red List bird of high conservation concern.

Animal lover Mrs Stanton says she was over the moon to spot them for the first time in her life.

The 65-year-old explained: “I couldn’t believe my eyes – especially seeing two of them.

“As someone who loves birds, seeing a pair of starlings really shocked me.

Albino starlings are a rare sighting. Picture: Stock image
Albino starlings are a rare sighting. Picture: Stock image

“There’s cat food in my neighbour’s garden which we think has made them keep coming back.

“They are very rare animals – so much so I have never actually seen one in person before.

“I took a liking to watching all sorts of birds years ago, and I always see owls, herons and kestrels nearby as our garden is quite open.

“But when I saw the white starling I knew it was one straightaway and had to film it.

“They can sometimes look like doves, but my husband and I could see the difference by the stars on their wings.”

The starlings’ arrival comes just two weeks after another “very rare visitor to the UK” was sighted by birdwatchers in Kent.

A black stork was seen at Capel Fleet Raptor Viewpoint – also on the Isle of Sheppey.

Although the bird is not listed as endangered in the wild, only on a small number of occasions does it land on British soil.

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