These birds are incredible – just a 2 minute video – enjoy!
OK Class – here’s another mystery of nature:
No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance
in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in
shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the
millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite.
Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. The starlings’
murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in
different contexts is practised by schools of fish, swarms of bees and
colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models
haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny
birds’ quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid
aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.
Despite their tour de force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined
significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a decline in
suitable nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s
rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after
their evening ballet.
Two young ladies were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and
fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they
saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in the short video whose
URL is below. Watch the variation of colour and intensity of the
patterns that the birds make in close proximity to one other. And take
a look at the girl in the bow of the canoe watching the aerial display.