How do they not bump into each other and knock themselves out of the sky?
Murmuration - it is something amazing to see, although starlings are a nuisance. The vineyards and fruit growers in the UK are rejoicing at the apparent decline in the numbers of starlings. Regardless of your feelings about starlings, do take a couple of minutes to check out this video. It's a wonderful sight!
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.
Very cool. It reminds me a little of chimney swifts and how they drive bomb in a vortex like fashion into chimneys without hitting one another. Of course it's not anywhere near as massive or as elegant as Murmuration.
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