The stunning sun-set sight of millions of starlings swarming over a town centre… to keep WARM

April 5, 2013 | by | 1 Comment

This was the incredible sight as a million starlings flocked over a town centre – to keep WARM.

The swarm of birds – known as a murmuration – are normally spotted swooping in the countryside at this time of year.

But experts believe the unusually cold weather of recent weeks has forced the birds into urban areas where the air is warmer.

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A million strong murmation of starlings flies over Swindon, Wiltshire as the sun sets

A million strong murmuration of starlings flies over Swindon, Wiltshire as the sun sets

These pictures were taken over Swindon, Wilts., where a murmuration of an estimated one million birds created spectacular patterns in the sky at sunset.

Stewart Dobson, from the Wiltshire Ornithological Society, said: “Essentially it is the old adage of safety in numbers, that is how they survive through the night.

“As a species starlings need to rest in very large numbers together. When they come down to the ground the huddle together to get extra warmth.

“Because it is so cold they have come into the town to get yet another couple of degrees of warmth.

The birds, which normally spend spring at a nature reserve in Somerset have chosen urban Swindon because of the cold weather

The birds, which normally spend spring at a nature reserve in Somerset have chosen urban Swindon because of the cold weather

“That’s the reason they are in Swindon because we have had one of the coldest March’s on record they have moved into the town rather than out in the countryside.

“When it starts to get towards dusk you can see these groups coming in from all points of the compass.

“It is quite amazing, it is like joining a busy motorway, it is incredible how they never collide.”

The murmuration in Swindon is believed to be made up not just of birds native to these shores but also many from Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

As is typical the birds move south to warmer weather during the winter and migrate back home as summer begins, coinciding with breeding season.

Valerie Osborne, of the RSPB, said: “It’s very unusual to see the birds this late on in the year. It’s possibly because of the cold weather.

“They usually start around autumn time as the birds move south with the warm weather and are usually found in the countryside.”

Josie Lewis, a resident of Gorse Hill, Swindon, where the birds have been gathered said it was like having a “front row seat to nature”.

She said: “It’s absolutely fascinating, it’s like having a front row seat to nature. They appear every evening at the same time.

“I was watching them several nights ago and it is compulsive viewing.”

Category: News, Pictures

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing!!! Can I see them everyday? and where is the best spot to see them?

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