Murmuration – it is something amazing to see. No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite. Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either.
The starlings’ murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practiced by schools of fish, swarms of bees, and colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds’ quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.
Take a look at this amazing footage shot by someone who just happened to have a video camera and be in the right place at the right time.