The incredible spectacle of a murmuration of starlings (Video)

You have probably seen a murmuration of starlings before, where they fly in tight formation swirling and swooping about the sky in enticing patterns, and thought, “Wow, why do they do that?” But, I bet you have never seen a murmuration of starlings as massive and outstanding as this.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

A “murmuration” of starlings, as this phenomenon is known, must be one of the most magical, yet underrated, wildlife spectacles on display in winter. Impenetrable as the flock’s movements might seem to the human eye, the underlying maths is comparatively straightforward. Each bird strives to fly as close to its neighbours as possible, instantly copying any changes in speed or direction. As a result, tiny deviations by one bird are magnified and distorted by those surrounding it, creating rippling, swirling patterns. In other words, this is a classic case of mathematical chaos (larger shapes composed of infinitely varied smaller patterns). Whatever the science, however, it is difficult for the observer to think of it as anything other than some vast living entity.

Madmikesamerica thanks The Telegraph for the forgoing explanation of the murmuration of starlings.

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Posted by on November 4, 2011. Filed under Animals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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4 Responses to The incredible spectacle of a murmuration of starlings (Video)

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    November 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Wow! I’ve never seen anything like that. I feel somehow enriched after watching this avian spectacle. Thanks Collin.

    • Collin Hinds Reply

      November 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      You’re welcome. I love this little video. I’ve watched it at least half a dozen times.

  2. Holte Ender Reply

    November 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I have seen a few murmurations but never like in this video. Any idea where this was captured?

    • Collin Hinds Reply

      November 4, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I assumed it was off the coast of Scotland. Not so. According to a comment by Sophie under the video at Vimeo, “Ireland on the River Shannon. What a river!”

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