CC BY-SA, © Ian Andrews -


adapted from lindsay neil's story (2020)

Location: Jura
the natural world, hiding places

The Starling and the postbox

Earlier this century, but even as early as 1999, an enterprising lady Starling, hit upon the Knockrome (Isle of Jura) postbox as an ideal shelter to squat and bring up a family. Although the door was a bit narrow and she didn't like the colour much, she had probably just completed an exhausting flight from Africa and wasn't feeling too particular. In fact, a lot of the house-hunting was done for her by her boyfriend, who came with the house according to Starling custom. So with a minimal house-hunting effort... she made a home and grabbed a potential father figure altogether.

Between them, they filled the postbox with the usual rubbish - twigs, grass... and made a comfortable nest for the planned family. However, someone would annoyingly drop in a letter from time to time, which proved very inconvenient as the whole interior arrangement had to be re-jigged for the kids. Mirjam, the nice post lady, stuck up a notice up in 2005 warning people not to use the box, so the interference with Mrs Starling's family arrangements soon ceased. I made a note that she had moved in in 1999. A few wee Starlings later, and when the nights started to draw in, it was time for Mrs Starling and her new family to shoot back to Africa and get some reliably decent weather. Several years passed, and every year Mrs Starling faithfully returned to her favourite maternity unit in the postbox, raising many noisy little Starling sprogs in the process.
Alas, in 2009, she was found lying dead in the postbox. A brass plaque now rests on the postbox in her memory and, in appreciation of her dedication, was stuck on to the post box and miraculously, when the GPO replaced the post box in 2013, the plaque was carefully removed and preserved by the workmen. It is now back on the new Knockrome postbox.

It says: "In Loving Memory of Mrs Starling Whose home this was Between 1999 and 2008. She raised many little starlings here And defaced many intrusive letters Before laying herself to rest in 2009 back in her own home, No 1 Postbox, Knockrome, Isle of Jura. Her life's work done."

Contributed by Lindsay Neil

More information on visiting the area can be found here.