In autumn and winter in the United Kingdom, giant murmurations of starlings come out at dusk and perform breathtaking aerobatics before they settle into the surrounding landscape. This undulating flock of 70,000 starlings was filmed on a smartphone by Michael Mason, who shared it with BBC Earth Capture and Earth Unplugged.
The Royal Society of Biology and The University of Gloucestershire are working on a study to map these murmurations across the UK. They call it Starling Survey, and if you’re in the UK, you can help. From RSB.org.uk:
This autumn we are calling on the public to send in more specific information in order to discover more… This study will harness people power to increase knowledge about this amazing phenomenon.
Starling numbers have declined alarmingly over the last few years. And since the mid-1970s the UK population has fallen by 66%. The starling is now red listed as a bird of high conservation concern. The cause of the starling decline in the UK is unknown.
Our research partner, Dr Anne Goodenough MRSB from the University of Gloucestershire, and her team will analyse the data to find out how location, weather, sunset time, and season affect the size, frequency and time of murmurations.
And here’s a longer version of Mason’s video:
Related reading: How Do Starling Flocks Create Those Mesmerizing Murmurations?
Plus, watch more incredible starling murmuration videos on this site.