Starlings flock over Lauwersmeer National Park, Netherlands
© Frans Lemmens/Alam
Moving as one
After the nesting and breeding seasons of spring and summer have passed, starlings start gathering in their thousands. Sometimes they take the form of a murmuration - when the flock is large and dense enough that the birds appear to move together as a single being. Although scientists still don't understand how starlings coordinate their tight, fluid formations, it is thought they do so to confuse predators.
Imagine you're a falcon on the hunt and you see a small group of starlings - an easy meal if you catch one. But if the starlings spot the predator first, they may form a murmuration, swooping and diving as one, making it difficult for the falcon to isolate and pick off an individual bird for its dinner.