You guys have got to see this video! It’s just…. stunning.
No one knows why starlings (also called grackles) flock together like this. There’s even a special name for it: murmuration. The results is a breath-taking black ballet in the sky.
Some girls were paddling along the River Shannon in Ireland and happened to catch starlings in action. You can hear them gasping in awe during the birds’ formations. Wow!
Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.
According to Wired.com,
Starling flocks, it turns out, are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems that are poised to tip, to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling in a flock is connected to every other. When a flock turns in unison, it’s a phase transition.
Well, we already know what it’s like. But WHY do they do it? I think this is more difficult to answer, something that probably goes beyond mere biology.