Traveling in large groups protects birds from predators while also offering them companionship and warmth from fellow travelers.
Murmurations of birds is truly spectacular to witness! A murmuration occurs when thousands of Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) form an incredible mass that swirls and turns as it flies overhead, often seen during winter when these Starlings gather to roost for the night – it can even happen right in your own backyard, reed bed, or near a large pier! It offers an unforgettable experience you don’t want to miss!
Murmuration refers to the sound made when large flocks of birds fly together in formation; their flight produces a murmuring noise like running water, while their movement looks almost liquid-like – and can be truly mesmerising to watch!
Starlings form flocks for various reasons, including protection from predators. It is thought that their flocks create a threateningly large shape and sound to scare predators away, while using their hypnotic movements to communicate among each other and share information on food sources.
Experts still are unsure exactly how Starlings coordinate their movements into a murmuration, though they have incredible social-distancing instincts that allow each bird to maintain a safe distance from its closest neighbor and when someone at the edge moves suddenly or unexpectedly it pulls or pushes others in the flock, keeping a constant level of cohesion without needing an official leader!
Murmurations of Starlings can usually be found in woodlands, reed beds, cliffs, buildings or industrial structures like piers. The best time and place to watch one is around dusk when birds start congregating to rest for the night.
Beholding and hearing a flock of Starling birds swooping down to gather for their nightly rest can be truly captivating! Though many consider them an invasive species due to competition for food sources and taking over nest sites from native birds, witnessing their dramatic antics can truly take your breath away!
Murder of Crows
Crows are intelligent birds capable of living 20 years and possessing complex family structures. Unfortunately, however, they’re also notorious scavengers, leading them to be associated with death and murder due to their all-black hue and widespread folklore surrounding their all-black coloring and appearance in folklore. When an abundance of these birds assemble in your neighborhood at once it can be terrifying; thus leading many people to refer to this phenomena as “murder of crows”.
A murder of crows could indicate that a flock of birds have found an area safe from winter weather to roost or has relocated for the season, or could signal illness within their flock or that one has died. More likely it is that there are numerous power lines and tall trees nearby which attract these perching crows, as they will probably be stopping along their migration journeys and looking for rest stops along their journeys.
If you have ever encountered a “murder” of crows, they are most likely searching for food or simply circling in formation to watch for potential threats. As per observational behavior of corvids, we know they sometimes visit sites of previous corvid deaths to mourn in silence or as an investigation tool; whether this be mournful ritualism or simply curious curiosity as to the cause of their demise remains unclear.
Crows are notoriously territorial birds and may attack any bird who intrudes on their territory, including members of their own flock. Reports have surfaced worldwide of crows killing or maiming members of their own flock; possibly due to crowd behavior when one has violated rules such as those found within courts – usually ending when either flight takes place or someone has committed some sort of transgression against their group and being chased off or killed off by them.
There have also been studies conducted that demonstrate the intelligence of crows. A notable experiment in Seattle began by trapping several crows and outfitting them with caveman masks; over 16 years, these birds quickly learned to recognize and interact with researchers despite having caveman masks on. Furthermore, the crows used wire tools created from themselves to reach inaccessible foods – something only thought possible among primates or humans before this research took place.
Unkindness of Ravens
Ravens often receive an unfair reputation due to their association with negative omens and dark prophecies, as well as being associated with decomposing bodies due to their scavenger nature. Their jet black feathers can make them seem unnerving when watching someone; plus there are group names such as Murder of Crows or Unkindness of Ravens!
Edgar Allan Poe and Ruth Rendell often portrayed ravens as unsympathetic birds; in reality they are intelligent beings capable of planning and solving complex problems, using tools to acquire food sources, recognizing people by face recognition software and harassing those they feel have wronged them; they even attend funeral rituals when one of their flock dies.
These playful species also enjoy sliding down snow-covered hills for sheer fun, and often form long-term partnerships even though they travel together until finding one another.
Researchers have studied their ability to cooperate and solve problems collaboratively. These animals communicate using various calls and vocalizations; short shrill calls may be used when chasing predators away, while deep rasping calls in their nests provide vital communication channels. Studies have also documented them consoling one another after fights have ensued.
Ravens who had encountered humans who regularly traded bread for cheese or tried to cheat them would remember those people and avoid them for at least a month, refusing to work with people whom they had previously experienced as unfair. Similarly, such human subjects would likely refuse any future contracts.
Eruptic memory allows them to recall characteristics about an individual – like facial features – for up to a month after first encountering them, helping them determine whether or not someone can be trusted. Crows use this trait as a basis for trust decisions and recognize individuals when they believe someone has wronged them; ravens hold grudges more easily which might explain why they dislike crows so much when treated badly in the past.
Murder of Starlings
People often consider European starlings a pest. Their loud murmurations and destruction of other birds’ nests and eggs, as well as degrading landscapes by eating berries, seeds, and bulbs is irritating; but they pose no major threat to people or livestock; in fact, their impact on native cavity-nesting birds (such as bluebirds) was almost nonexistent; bluebird populations declined early last century, though that decline can often be traced to factors unrelated to starlings; you can help deter starlings by installing birdhouses with small entrance holes so only cavity nesting species (such as bluebirds) can enter while keeping out starlings
Starlings, like crows and ravens, can carry histoplasmosis – a respiratory illness caused by inhaling infected animal droppings – with poultry farmers and contractors clearing old buildings being at particular risk; although most people who contract histoplasmosis have occupations which require them to work around bat or bird droppings rather than living near starling roosts.
if starlings have established nests in your garage or other building, try placing dummy birds inside vents to deter them. Also cover open overflow tubes with mesh to restrict access. Engage in humane harassment tactics if necessary to drive away these pesky insects.
Use of poisons to kill starlings is controversial. While there’s little evidence it harms other wildlife such as raptors, there is some concern it could increase pest insects or alter water supplies by chlorine contamination. Furthermore, its effect on other bird species remains unknown since most studies focus exclusively on direct mortality among starlings.
People in certain regions are using starlicide or gull toxicant to decrease population numbers of European starlings and gulls, but not other birds or mammals. If you choose to use it, make sure that all instructions are strictly followed in order to avoid overdosing and ensure it only affects its targeted populations; otherwise it could harm other birds as well as people’s pets.