I am a birder. That means I am a bird watcher. Not just noticing birds everywhere I go—even though I do that—but consciously looking for them, admiring them. I have binoculars and bird guides in the car, I keep a life list, and I stop along the roadside after spotting a good bird-viewing opportunity. It has been awhile, but I even go on vacations specifically to see birds I have not seen before. I started this hobby in Texas, where I had the luxury of many, many birds living and migrating through the area. Although I have not been birding a lot lately, several of my goals for this year would be well served by scheduling a birding trip (treks to nature, photographing nature).
Another of my goals for 2013 is to “express gratitude and appreciation more.” This one I can address right now—without scheduling a trip—by sharing the video posted below. I do not have to take the photos/videos myself to be amazed at the wonder of Nature being shared. This video was shot in November 2012 by Wildlife in Cornwall and captures the phenomenon of a large flock of birds dancing across the skies. Such a video is not new. Many have captured this vision over the years in many locales, and those videos can be found on YouTube as well.
But this video—“The Ultimate Starling Murmuration”—is one of the best I have seen, and it was taken fairly recently. This sighting was captured in Cornwall, England, where Starlings are natives. There are many types of Starlings, so I am not certain what type is captured in the video. If the video had been shot in the United States, it would be a fair guess that the birds are European Starlings, also called Common Starlings.
Here is a little background information on the bird itself in America: Today, Common or European Starlings are fairly common across the United States. They are considered an “invasive species” because they are not native to our habitats. In 1890, several hundred were released in New York’s Central Park by the American Acclimatization Society—and the many, many flocks have grown since then. The Society explained that birds mentioned in Shakespeare (specifically Henry IV, Part I) should be evident in the United States, so they took action!
If you live in the United States, I am sure you have seen Starlings in your area. These birds are roughly 8 inches long with a glossy black plumage. At times during the year, white spots can be seen on the plumage as well. Beak color varies from black to yellow as well. They mainly eat insects and fruit. They group together in a large flock called a murmuration. Although they prefer open fields, I have seen them in front yards and gardens as well as at places like zoos, where they can pester visitors for food with all the other birds. I have seen small flocks of birds in the fields performing their own ballet—they could be Starlings. Probably are. But nothing I have personally seen is as wondrous and detailed as shown in the video: “The Ultimate Starling Murmuration.” ENJOY!
BTW: Wildlife in Cornwall is a great website. When you visit there, you will discover many wildlife videos as well as tips on where to go to see the images yourself. As the website explains, “’Wildlife in Cornwall’” has been created to help people discover the best locations in Cornwall to see birds and wildlife. It has been created so locals and visitors can explore the wonderful wildlife of this beautiful part of the world.” Do yourself a favor and go visit this site—and then get to Cornwall eventually too