Starling murmurations in Britain

 

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The Independent Online

Every year tens of thousands of starlings have been putting on mesmerising show as they gather for their murmurations in Gretna, south of Scotland.

The area of Dumfries and Galloway is one of the most well-known locations for this natural phenomenon.

Many keen birds watchers from across the UK are attracted to the spectacle and very often help with the records of birds sigthting.

The flocks can get as big as 100, 000 birds and shape-shift in the sky in very coordinated movements as if they were one swirling mass.

It is believed that one of the main reasons why starlings gather for the murmurations is presence of their predators like a hawks or falcons, and the flocks movements are based mailny on evasive maneuvers.

The most fascinating is how thousends of birds are able to change direction almost simultaneously, trying to avoid the raptors. The individual starlings do not spread, but rather move as an intelligent flock, feinting away from diving birds of prey.

Although often seen in their thousands starlings have suffered a dramatic population decline in recent years. Once a common sight in both urban and rural areas of Britain, starling numbers have dropped by more than 90% in woodlands.

 

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