Starling murmurations

Whatever your holiday, if you have one just now, join me in celebrating the amazing things that starlings do at this time of year.

Photos by Ida Swearingen.

Starlings gather at dusk and if the conditions are right they create amazing airborne patterns before they settle into the trees and roost together. The roosting’s for safety, for warmth, and (the experts swear) to exchange information on where the good food is. The murmurations may be to confuse predators.

Starlings also gather for shorter times during the day, condensing onto power lines, where they pack themselves together wing to feather. So tightly, in fact, that they’ve caused the occasional power outage in the Scottish town of Airth. So many gathered on the lines, and they settled and took off in such a mass, that their weight made the wires bounce, shutting down the power, sometimes for seconds and sometimes longer.

38 thoughts on “Starling murmurations

  1. Still one of your biggest fans Ellen, and this is another great vlog…you are inspirational. Wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful Christmas, and all the best for 20021 xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

      • That’s interesting. And they only do this at dusk!? Because I have certainly seen bird formations like this at dawn (driving the country roads to work) but I would never know if they were starlings or something else :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think they do it at dawn as well, although I’m not sure it lasts as long. Someone who lives near the area where they like to roost said they tend to lift off all at once. It’s beautiful, but in the evening they come in separate groups–some of them like rivers, so it happens over and over again.

          Liked by 1 person

        • They don’t form murmurations at dawn. In the mornings they all begin to chatter and stir on their roosts and when someone throws the invisible switch, they take off in three, huge, consecutive groups. It is quite a sight, but nothing to compare with a murmuration when flock after flock fly and blend with the whole.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. We used to see them morning and evening in France, heading for the town at night and out again in the morning, in ever shifting formations. Just one evening they landed in our grounds…every branch full, the ground covered…they took off again in the morning, gathering together overhead then, as one, they turned with a clap like a ‘plane beating the sound barrier and were gone.

    Compliments of the season to you…I do enjioy your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Merry Christmas! I used to live in western Ohio in a small college town called Ada. Every fall we would get a starling show. Great flocks would pass and form these flowing shapes. Something from my childhood that I will never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

      • And in my end of Ohio (near Akron) ours finally did leave and fly south – good thing as today there is 8 inches of snow and a high of 20 F.
        Is Brexit solved ?
        Hope your Christmas was safe and merry.


        • “Solved” is too strong a word, but we have a last-minute agreement. I have no idea what it says, and at this point I doubt many people do., but it should stave off the worst chaos, leaving us only with lower-grade chaos.

          It still has to be approved by both sides.

          Christmas was good, thanks, and I hope yours was as well.


    • I’ve been hearing about the storm. Sounds like a real one. We walked down to the beach today and on the way back saw the first wild primroses in bloom. I can’t believe what we’re getting away with here! Have a good Christmas. Drive careful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: New Start for 2021 – Cornish Bear's Photos

Talk to me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.