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Saturday, October 13, 2012


Murmuration of starlings

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.
The basis of the swarm is a simple algorithmic relationship between individual starlings
but the effect is dramatic when there are large numbers of birds. 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 - URL is below . Watch the variation of color and intensity of the
patterns that the birds make in proximity to one other, and take a look at the girl in the bow of
the canoe watching the aerial display . What an incredible event to witness ! ! Enjoy . <>


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