Rare pictures of starlings forming stunning patterns in the sky

February 15, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

This was the incredible sight as thousands of starlings formed stunning patterns in the sky above a field of oblivious sheep.

The birds – Sturnus vulgaris – swooped together in perfect harmony in a dazzling natural display of formation flying.

They flocked together to create mesmerising patterns in the dusk skies over Radnor Forest near Kington, Herefordshire.

The incredible aeronautical display is a natural process known as a murmuration where migrating birds find safety in numbers.

British resident starlings tend to migrate south and west as winter approaches, with some wintering in southern Europe and North Africa.

Scandinavian populations winter in the British Isles, causing a massive increase in population into the multi-millions.

Despite reaching speeds of at least 20mph, mid-air collisions are very rare because of their spatial awareness and reactions.

A spokesman for the RSPB said: ”Just as fish swim in shoals for safety, starlings flock to confuse predators such as sparrow hawks, buzzards and peregrines.

”Seeing starlings fly in these incredible formations is one of the most amazing sights we can come across in nature, but because of their recent decline, sightings like these are unfortunately becoming more and more rare, which make them even more special.”

The starling images were taken by photographer Ian Collins.

He said: ”I was actually taking a sunset round the corner when it happened and everybody stopped in their vehicles to have a look at them.

”I have never seen anything like it, especially on a main route. They do tend to stay on the same spot though apparently, so other people may want to have a look around there too.”

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