8 January 2021
Many people in North America don’t like starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) for their aggressive invasive behavior, but starlings can do something beautiful that no other songbird can match. At dusk as they gather to roost, starlings fly in tight flocks that wheel and turn in unison. Their murmurations make beautiful patterns in the sky.
This 4-minute video of starlings at dusk was recorded at RSPB Otmoor Reserve, a birding hotspot in Oxfordshire, UK.
And here’s a short clip from San Rafael, California.
Went to see the European Starling murmurations in San Rafael, CA yesterday, and wow was it an experience. pic.twitter.com/Zh5Jf941Kr— Mike Mahoney (@mike_c_mahoney) January 2, 2021
Unfortunately, the murmurations are smaller than they used to be. Starlings have declined 80% in the UK and 49% in the U.S. since 1970.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)