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Have you ever wondered why starlings don't crash into each other?

I did today while I was in Sainsbury's car park.
 They're doing well down there. We had a minimurmuration - about 100 birds. I thought they'd go off somewhere else when the gasometer was dismantled (Whose genius idea was that? Why on earth might we need to store gas?)
Here's a link for anyone else who's wondering - about the starlings that is.
In London. Keen but lazy.


  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,768
    I wonder if they do U-turns too @B3!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,315
    It’s a shame that people in car parks can’t be as aware of their seven nearest neighbours as the starlings are. 🙄
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,562
    apart from not bashing into each other, I often wonder when a murmuration lands in the field next door when thousands of birds are chattering very loudly that in a split second every one of them falls silent.
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    Interesting, I thought it was some sort of radar they used. 
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • FireFire Posts: 17,351
    edited October 2022
    I think nobody really knows how or why murmurations work. There are lots of theories.

    We don't any more about fish or bird schooling any more than why exactly moths fly towards lights at night.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,941
    I counted 60 starlings (roughly) on a neighbour's roof the other morning. They moved to the next house along and then suddenly all took off as one. I was convinced a couple would be left behind as they were drinking out of the gutter (!), but no. Fascinating. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,502
    A starling is a starling is a starling. We think each one is the same but are they individuals? Are some a bit depressed? Does one have the hots for a lady with particularly sexy plumage? Does one long to strike out and find a gasometer in a faraway land? Are they all in the equivalent of citizens of a totalitarian state longing to escape? Should I shut up?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,351
    edited October 2022
    No, you should not shut up. Spring(etc)watch have investigated quite closely the recent science into starling behaviour. Please explore these questions and let us know what you find out.

    I find it amazing how much science doesn't know, mostly because most of the questions have not been explored. I posted a vid recently from Knepp on earthworms. The science lead said that if we go and explore the earthworms in your own garden, the chances are you will discover things new to science, mainly because UK earthworms just haven't been studied much.

  • B3B3 Posts: 26,502
    Mesmeric. Particularly with the sound off. Pachelbel's Canon says sheep to me🤔
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,351
    Most videos are best on mute. Especially political ones.
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