Video: Starlings return to Israel in amazing murmuration »
This formation is called a “murmuration” of starlings, and while we understand why the birds do it—to search for food and defend against predators—per Wired, we don’t understand “what physiological mechanisms allow it to happen almost simultaneously in two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds.”
Until science figures it out, we can certainly appreciate it as part of the magic of nature, which is pretty incredible.
Nature is goddamn amazing. AMAZING. Check out this video that Sophia Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith took while canoeing the river Shannon in Ireland. It is a murmuration of starlings and it is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen.
Also totally terrifying, SO MANY BIRDS, but mostly breathtaking.
[video by Sophia Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith, via the wonderful National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Promise blog]
Bird deaths caused by avicide in USDA “shocker” »
It’s just that the starlings in South Dakota “were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska,” and whoops, they dropped dead in midair, inconveniently missing the state whose resident had put a contract out on their lives altogether. Funny how that works.
This is part of an ongoing program called “Bye Bye Blackbird”—cleverly titled by some USDA employee in the ’60s—that exists solely for the “eradication” (read: MURDER) of birds that have become pests. Sorry, endangered species, but the poisons used to kill all your avian pals don’t differentiate between “good” birds and “bad” ones, so the rusty blackbird is dying alongside “pests” like those cow-feed-ruining starlings, grackles, cowbirds, and red-winged blackbirds. Whoops, again! But if the dang birds aren’t pooping everywhere they’re eating up all the feed for the cows we people need to kill to feed our gaping maws, so someone has to suffer. I know, I know—hungry birds? in the winter? Knock me over with a feather. Too bad they won’t just quietly hide away and starve to death, like nice homeless people. Thousands of birds falling dead from the sky is just so—creepy. I mean, it’s not like the USDA is going to stop using avicides, or cattle farmers won’t contract out the totally necessary bird-killing to professional murderers. Goodness.