Breathtaking images of a murmuration of starlings over Wicken Fen

PUBLISHED: 15:22 18 January 2016

starling murmuration

starling murmuration

These breathtaking images of a murmuration of starlings was captured swooping over Wicken Fen on Friday (15) by Ely Standard reader Michael Hoare.

starling murmurationstarling murmuration

According to the RSPB’s website a murmuration is “basically a mass aerial stunt - thousands of birds all swooping and diving in unison. It’s completely breathtaking to witness.

“We think that starlings do it for many reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

“They also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. They gather over their roosting site, and perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night.

“Autumn roosts usually begin to form in November, though this varies from site to site and some can begin as early as September.

“More and more birds will flock together as the weeks go on, and the number of starlings in a roost can swell to around 100,000 in some places.

“Early evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see them across the UK. You don’t need any special equipment as it’s all visible by just looking to the skies.

“They roost in places that are sheltered from harsh weather and predators, such as woodlands, but reedbeds, cliffs, buildings and industrial structures are also used. During the day, however, they form daytime roosts at exposed places such as treetops, where the birds have good all-round visibility.”

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