The Kid Should See This

An amazing murmuration of 70,000 starlings

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:

Last year over 1,600 sightings revealed some interesting results about location and duration of murmurations. Have a look at our 2014 murmuration map!

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.

People can record starling murmurations now as well as share photographs and information using #StarlingSurvey and dedicated Twitter account @Starling_Survey.

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.

This award-winning video collection is reader-supported. Become a sustaining member to keep TKSST online and free for everyone, including teachers and parents who use it as a resource to spark learning and curiosity for kids.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Why do animals form swarms?

Rion Nakaya

Hundreds of sheep move across New Zealand’s grasslands

Rion Nakaya

Murmuration Chandelier

Rion Nakaya

A Bird Ballet: A murmuration of starlings over Marseille, France

Rion Nakaya

Murmuration (of Starlings)

Rion Nakaya

Micromigrations: visualizing the flight paths of starlings

Rion Nakaya

Why Is A Group Of Crows Called A “Murder”?

Rion Nakaya

Data in data out: the flight paths of starlings

Rion Nakaya

Wonders in the Sky: A murmuration of starlings in slow motion

Rion Nakaya

Get smart curated videos delivered every week.    
Subscribe