Animal Behaviors: Murmurations of Starlings

Animal Behaviors:Page 7

A mumuration is the term used to describe a flock of starlings. I learned this recently when I was out driving taking pictures of the snow and spotted something on the ridge of the road. I wasn’t quite sure what it was in that first moment and then I noticed it was a flock of birds; hundreds of them.

As soon as I realized what I was seeing I stopped my car and got out. I have binoculars in the trunk but I always forget that! I strained my aging eyes, wondering what these birds were doing in the road. To this day my best guess is the salt laid by the highway department.

Finally I had made enough movement or enough noise to send the flock into the air; and in that moment I was mesmerized. They danced like the best of a Disney Classic and they swarmed like the best of a Hitchcock film. All the time I stood, in the middle of the road, camera to my face,shooting and entranced. As old as I am, I have never seen such a sight.

Later that evening I went to my experts. I have a photog group on facebook and a cousin who is an avid bird watcher. I learned of the term mumuration from Diane; a term I never knew before; Diane teaches me a lot!

I learned these birds were European Starlings from my cousins Joe; I learn a lot from Joe too. He also clued me in on the origin of these birds and their relation to Shakespeare, of all people. I read an interesting article that explains it on Scientific American.

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4 thoughts on “Animal Behaviors: Murmurations of Starlings

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  2. Way last spring I was driving down a stretch of highway and saw a large group of (what I think were) starlings also. They lifted off the ground as one mass, and as they flew in mass along the edge of the field beside the highway, they were actually moving in circular patterns within the larger mass as it continued to move. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. It was so beautiful, I contacted a blogging friend who specializes in birds as well, and asked her about them.


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