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Murmarations of Starlings

One evening last year, while walking the dog, the youngest and I walked past a small tree full of starlings. There were at least a hundred. They crowded together on every branch, wing to wing and made the most terrific noise. Then, all as one, as if on some secret signal, they rose and disappeared over the rooftops.

Just before dusk, smaller groups will gather at a communal roosting site and put on an acrobatic display before bedding down for the night. It is an awe-inspiring sight. If you’re lucky, you’ll see hundreds of them, swooping and diving in a synchronised dance. You can see it at sunrise too – but that would involve getting out of bed early.

hahaden / Flickr / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The best time to see them is between October and March. It can happen anywhere, but the map below from Starlings In the UK shows some of the more populous roosting sites.