Starling Murmurations

A murmuration is when huge flocks of starlings come together to form shape-shifting flight patterns at sunset before they roost for the night.

I am fascinated by murmurations but have never seen one, however last week I visted Brandon Marsh near Coventry to witness this incredible natural phenomenom where large groups of starlings take to the sky, swooping and swirling into spheres, planes and waves. It was mesmerising and I was transfixed by the beauty of seeing so many birds move together, seemingly as one.

A murmuration is named after the noise that is made by the many flapping wings of the starlings in flight. As they flew en masse overhead they made a low humming sound which added to the spectacle.

They gather in murmurations for a variety of reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers as predators like peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in amongst a hypnotising flock of thousands. The murmuration happens prior to roosting and they gather together to keep warm at night.

The starling murmurations happen during the winter months, roughly from October to March.

The peak in numbers is usually December to January when more birds come over from Europe and join our resident birds.

It really is something worth witnessing. Find out more about this phenomenon here.

Check out this interactive map to find a site near to you. If you see one I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I did.

And I am thinking of how I can make art about it now!