Big Ben’s starlings

On the evening 12 August 1949  a flock of starlings landed on one of the minute hands of Big Ben causing it to slow by five minutes. The clock was unable to chime at 9pm but was back to normal by midnight [here].

Incidentally, an entire episode of The Goon Show in 1954 parodied of the futile efforts to disrupt the large common starling roosts in central London.

Sadly, the magnificent murmurations over the city are now a thing of the past as this RSPB article reminds us, although they are still the second most common bird found in London’s gardens according to the  annual Big Garden Birdwatch.