Clouds of starlings known as murmurations are captivating and almost creepy. But mainly mesmerizing.

Video: Starlings Fly as One in Hypnotic Clouds


Hypnotic and awe-inspiring, the murmuration of a cloud of starlings often catches observers unawares. Some are lucky enough to grab video and kind enough to share the footage. That’s what happened to two young women canoeing in Ireland, and the filmmaking duo calling themselves Islands & Rivers had the presence of mind to capture the beautiful sight and then post it.

How do starlings do it? The phenomenon comes down to a mixture of physics and mathematics that transcends biology, Wired explained. Analyzing flock dynamics mathematically illusrates that each bird’s movement is influenced by every other starling, the magazine said in a 2010 story.

“It doesn’t matter how large a flock is, or if two birds are on opposite sides,” Wired reported. “It’s as if every individual is connected to the same network.”

This is abundantly evident in both the video above and the two that follow. Below is another sequence, this one filmed by wildlife cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter as he sailed around the United Kingdom in 2010.

And this “Bird Ballet” interrupted an ad shoot in France.