Invite the starling to help the greenkeeper


The project was initiated as collaborative work between Sydsjællands Golfklub, Dansk Golf Union, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening (DOF) and Birdlife Denmark in 2018. We soon realised that we needed more time for preparation to obtain better results during the project and therefore we have added an extra year.

2018 was mainly used to establish the collaboration and to acquire and adapt equipment. First, we identified prerequisites for successful fieldwork. We prepared 110 nest boxes and placed them all over the golf course. All were numbered and georeferenced via the Turfgrass app. Around 40 of the nestboxes were also prepared for catching breeding starlings. We started to record breeding birds and ringed juvenile starlings. The clutch of each successful pair is known to find and consume 2.5 kg larvae, which means that the more starlings we can attract, the more larvae will be removed from the golf course and surroundings. Sydsjællands Golf Club hosted a succesful guided bird trip “Birds at golf courses” for 30 people one evening in May. This was led by ornithologists from the local branch of DOF-Birdlife Denmark and besides seeing birds, it gave the opportunity for interaction between members of the two organisations and for discussions about the new initiatives at the golf course.

The project is on-going and will include the study of breeding starlings in spring and summer 2019, when we will record all breeding birds in nestboxes and attach high-precision GPS-loggers to ~five adult starlings, to learn which habitat they prefer and how far from the nesting site they forage. Again this year, local people will be invited for a bird trip at the golf course. After the breeding season, the data will be analysed and all experiences evaluated and communicated. Hopefully the experiences will be useful on a broader scale.

Project objectives

  • The main idea behind this project is invite starlings to settle on golf courses. This bird species preys upon larvae of insects such as craneflies in lawns and fields. It may thereby help the greenkeeper by performing biological control to remove larvae from the turf.
  • This pilot project aims to identify parts of the golf course and the surrounding habitat used by foraging adult starlings during the breeding period.
  • The aim is to attach high precision GPS-loggers to around five starlings, to learn which habitat they prefer and how far from their nesting site they forage.
Henning Heldbjerg

Henning Heldbjerg, DOF-Birdlife Denmark, Vesterbrogade 140, 1620 Kbh V, Denmark

Category: Multifunctional golf facilities
Status: Ongoing
Project period: May 2018 - October 2019

Fundings (kSEK)

Funding (ksek)        2018          2019              total

STERF                         90            10                    100
Other sources              90             0                      90
Total                        180           10                    190