Murmuration of starlings signals that winter is here
Winter must must be coming... because the starlings are flocking. Here are many thousands of the birds wheeling together in the afternoon sky near Gretna Green yesterday, as they prepare to roost together for the night.
A starling flock like this is called a murmuration, a word that perfectly describes the rustle of thousands of pairs of wings. Starling murmurations are one of the most dazzling displays in the natural world, as the flock changes shape, one minute like a colossal wisp of smoke, the next a tornado, the next a thundercloud blocking the light.
The huge gatherings, biggest in winter, are boosted by thousands of birds that come to Britain's milder Atlantic climate to escape the harsh cold of the European continent, especially in Scandinavia. There are several reasons to get together in the way they do – safety in numbers, information exchange (if some come back from a good feeding area others may learn of it) and warmth at night through roosting together. The birds may feed up to 20 miles from their winter roost but return each evening.
Kielder Forest considered as site for return of wild lynx to the UK after 1,300 year absence
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Outlander novelist Diana Gabaldon in battle to prevent 'industrial-scale' windfarm being built where travel series is set
Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival
Morne Hardenberg: 'Great white sharks have a softer side most people never get to see'
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...