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Ruminations on Murmurations

posted by Jeff Bilsky at
on Sunday, November 13, 2011 

The video I've embedded below seems to be getting a lot of attention on birding lists right now. It was taken over a river in Ireland. Watch it and be amazed if you haven't already.

There are a few things I find interesting about this video and the Starling murmuration it has captured.

First of all, the science of it is astounding. It is way more than I can grasp, but Wired Science attempts to analyze it HERE.

Secondly, the word used to describe a flock of Starlings: a murmuration. I had actually never heard it before or if I had, it slipped through my memory. In any case, I'll never forget it now. I have to admit as someone who enjoys a good descriptor, murmuration is kind of badass. Of course, I'm not sure anything will ever top the classic 'murder' of Crows, but this is a good one. It inspired me to dig up some of the other group names again. You can just google 'collective nouns for birds' and a whole bunch come up. Here are two links to get you started: LINK 1 and LINK 2. A 'mutation' of thrushes? Weird.

Finally, and probably the part that makes this video so exciting to watch is the awe that it inspires. At the end of the video that sense of wonder is perfectly captured in the giggles shared by the girls in the boat. I run around and make lists of the birds I've seen, but in the end, the part that keeps me coming back for more is to be a witness to something astounding, not unlike this video. Just yesterday I felt this when I was alone at Antelope Island in an early winter storm and all around me coyotes were yelping while a deer walked slowly across the fresh snow. Pretty cool; glad I was there to see it.

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Blogger Kiirsi said...

Nice post! Great picture, too.

November 16, 2011 at 9:00 AM  

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