2nd December 2011

Pulled off the road today to watch thousands of birds flocking over the vines. It was gorgeous, incredible really, and I kept trying to get a good photo. Finally Geri-Ayn yelled, “Look at this! Look at it with your soul!” So I put my camera down.

I’d never seen anything like it, there were so many of them, but apparently it happens a lot with Starlings. This video gives you an idea of how lovely it is to see.

7 thoughts on “Murmuration

  1. aubry.

    I have an irrational fear of starlings! Irrational! Like, panic and run for cover, huge gasping inhale, cover my eyes with my hands – its beyond normal (and totally dangerous when I’m driving!)

    Someone should study me. Or, I should move. They’re all over the trees that line the road to my house. I know fall is over and winter begins when the starlings come out. It’s bird season!

    P.S. I’d be in the fetal position at the bottom of that canoe if that was me. Oy vey, I’d per my pants!

  2. robin

    I grew up across the road from a huge farm field, and in the late summer/early fall this would happen over the field almost every evening. I have fond memories of being on the porch with my dad, “how many do you think there are?” he’d say. “At least a million tonight, Dad. For sure.” It truly is a sight to behold. I love your friend telling you to put the camera down. There should be an app for that. Like if the image registers high enough on some beauty/transcendence scale, your phone tells you to put it down.

  3. elaine

    when we visit my aunt at her place in healdsburg in the dry creek valley, we see the mumurations of starlings flying up and down the valley all the time. totally breath taking.

  4. Rebecca

    Starling murmurations are really quite amazing, aren’t they?

    Starlings also have a very strange and interesting history in North America – a population of only about 60 were introduced to NYC’s Central Park in 1890 or so – the fanciful idea was to make sure that Central Park contained all the birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. They’ve been extraordinarily prolific since then. (Cool that that means the flocks I see in murmurations above fields in Ontario are related to the very ones you witnesses over the vineyard and the others that readers have mentioned or seen… The less cool part is that as an invasive species they’ve caused untold problems since.)

  5. Theresa

    Wow. Your post made me shiver – I’ve always wanted to see a starling murmuration (yes, best word ever!). But @robin’s reply – oh my. “At least a million tonight, Dad”. What a memory. And thank-you for taking a picture for us, but kudos to you for putting down the camera – for you.

  6. Shannon B

    I saw a murmuration once while i was living in the countryside of France. It was a few days before Halloween and when it began to happen i had this terrifying feeling i was in a real life version of The Birds. I soon mellowed out and watched…i will also never forget that i managed to get bird poop in my hand while I was eating swedish fish. Poor Swedish fish covered in poo.

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