Murmuration of starlings

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navigator9

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I was in the parking lot of a local mall the other day and witnessed a very small example of this phenomenon. It reminded me of when, several years ago, at the end of a news program, they had a segment about starling murmurations at Gretna Green in Scotland. This was the first time I'd ever heard of such a thing, and the accompanying video was mesmerizing. Apparently the birds do this at sunset, just before they roost. We think of them as nuisance birds, and they are, so it's amazing to think that birds that don't seem to be anyone's favorite, are capable of something so breathtaking. If you go to youtube and plug in "starlings" in the search bar, you'll see tons of videos. Maybe it's just me, but I love to watch these. I always feel slightly dizzy and breathless. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Here are two girls in a canoe, who have an encounter with a murmuraton. This is really beautiful, and you can hear them gasp as the formation passes overhead. How I would have loved to have been in that canoe!
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRNqhi2ka9k&list=PL4RsS72V3wO1lYlZp8r0Bi-aJqhnlN_IK&index=8[/ame]

In many videos, people have gone out to places where starlings are known to do this, with the intention to film them, but in this first video, it feels like these guys were startled by what they saw, and weren't too sure what was going on. I love the part where, as the birds pass overhead, you hear one of them say, "Oh, my goodness, can you feel the wind?"
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmO4Ellgmd0[/ame]
 

snappyllama

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It really is breathtaking. I'd love to witness so many of them and can just imagine what the vibration in air must feel like. About the closest I've come is living in Austin in the 90s... hanging out over bridge on Congress Avenue (before folks really knew about it) and first feeling the hum, then watching all the bats emerge. Just fantastic and an excellent way to freak out unsuspecting friends.
 

dibbles

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Navigator, thank you for posting this. A beautiful example of nature's perfection.
 

navigator9

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Glad you enjoyed it. After watching the debate last night, I really needed something to remind me the world isn't always a dirty, sordid, scary place, filled with megalomaniacs, imbeciles and jerks. :-D
 

Obsidian

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I've seen videos of this before but didn't realise it was starlings. They are one of my favorite bird, they never congregate in such large numbers here though. I did have one that hung around for a few days two summers ago that mimicked sounds, especially the garbage truck back up beep.
 

navigator9

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I've seen videos of this before but didn't realise it was starlings. They are one of my favorite bird, they never congregate in such large numbers here though. I did have one that hung around for a few days two summers ago that mimicked sounds, especially the garbage truck back up beep.
Yes, they are capable of mimicking sounds that they hear. How funny that they chose the back up beep! I've never seen them in the numbers like in the video, but we do get large flocks here. In fact, there was an incident when I first moved into this house...it was in the fall, a warmish day, and I had the back door open. I was doing something, when I heard this noise, and I stopped to listen, because I couldn't figure out what it was. It was a whispery, rustling sound and I followed it to the back door, and when I looked out, I saw a large flock of starlings in the back yard, that was covered with fallen leaves, and each and every one of them was doing the same thing. They would take a leaf in their beak, flip it over, take a step, flip another leaf, over and over again, apparently looking for insects. And there being so many of them, it made a sound loud enough to hear inside the house. I stood and watch until they all flew away. It has never happened again, so I'm glad that I was there to notice it that day.
 
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dibbles

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I spent some time being mesmerized by youtube videos last night. I'll post this one. Set to Pachelbel's Canon, it is so soothing to watch.

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eakKfY5aHmY[/ame]
 

navigator9

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Sagebrush

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Wow. So breath-taking and almost magical! I grew up in Michigan and sometimes we'd have small flocks of starlings clustered in trees chattering away but never anything even close to this.
 

IrishLass

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Wow...amazing! Thanks for sharing! I've never had the pleasure of witnessing anything like that before on such a huge scale. In a word- mesmerizing!


IrishLass :)
 

regansoap

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I live in the west of Wales which is quite rural and seaside the starlings do this all the time massive numbers twisting and turning and watching them is so hypnotic what a beautiful planet we are live on.
 

navigator9

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I live in the west of Wales which is quite rural and seaside the starlings do this all the time massive numbers twisting and turning and watching them is so hypnotic what a beautiful planet we are live on.
The world has a way of wearing us down and sometimes we need to see something like this, to restore our souls. I so envy that you get to see this, lucky you! :thumbup: I hear that Wales is quite a beautiful place.
 
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