Starling murmurations as you've never heard before

Starlings in flight are always beautiful, but what's most remarkable about The Art of Flying, a film by Jan van IJken about a massive flock of starlings, is the sound.


From the filmmaker's website:

Short film about “murmurations”: the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show. Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van IJken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth.

The full film is for sale here:

Flight of the Starlings: Watch This Eerie but Beautiful Phenomenon (YouTube / via Palm Springs Short Fest)

Notable Replies

  1. (A) That is rad!

    (B) Gonna call that more of a susurrus than than a murmuration.

  2. The most amazing part might be that he filmed this without an umbrella!

  3. Nature's lava lamp. Love seeing these.

  4. It really lifts the heart, seeing that on an autumn evening. It makes me wonder what we've missed with the passing of the passenger pigeon. Quoth Audubon via Wikipedia:

    I cannot describe to you the extreme beauty of their aerial evolutions, when a hawk chanced to press upon the rear of the flock. At once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they rushed into a compact mass, pressing upon each other towards the center. In these almost solid masses, they darted forward in undulating and angular lines, descended and swept close over the earth with inconceivable velocity, mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and, when high, were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, which then resembled the coils of a gigantic serpent... Before sunset I reached Louisville, distant from Hardensburgh fifty-five miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers and continued to do so for three days in succession.

  5. The murmuration is the flockblob itself, the susurrus is the sound it produces.

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