Hundreds of starlings make shape of a BIRD in mesmerising murmuration

Hundreds of starlings make the shape of a BIRD as they swoop and whirl across the sky in a mesmerising murmuration

  • Group of starlings put on an impressive display in Kettering, Northamptonshire
  • Hundreds of birds swooped and whirled to create several mesmerising patterns 
  • Roland James, 40, witnessed birds’ display, including a bird-shaped formation 

This is the spectacular moment hundreds of starlings swirled together to form the shape of a bird. 

The impressive spectacle saw the birds make dramatic twists and turns to form several shapes, including one that looked like a bird.

Roland James, 40, filmed the murmuration in Kettering, Northamptonshire. 

Roland James, 40, witnessed the incredible moment hundreds of starlings formed the shape of a bird during a murmuration in Kettering, Northamptonshire

In the clip the birds can be seen swirling in different directions to form eye-catching patterns before packing together tightly to create a darker silhouette. 

At points they split into separate groups, before coming back together to form what looks like a black orb.    

As they swirl in the sky, the starlings’ silhouette even appears to form that of a bird, much to the delight of onlookers.

The enormous group of birds then appeared to fill the whole sky as they spread out over Mr James’s head. 

He said he ventured over to Linden Avenue one evening, around 5.30pm, after several people had claimed to have seen murmurations but was unsure as to the exact location. 

But, he said, it was clear once he arrived because the ground was covered in bird droppings, as were several cars. 

Curious to catch a glimpse of the murmurations other Kettering residents had been witnessing, he headed over to the road and was mesmerised by the spectacle

The birds swirled in the sky above his head, forming smaller groups before coming together and filling the sky 

‘I’ve seen similar footage on television but seeing it in person was remarkable, it just grew and grew and as the light faded their silhouettes darkened and depending on direction of flight the mass sometimes appeared denser and more compacted, before spreading out again and literally filling the sky,’ he said. 

Initially there were around 40 birds flying together before another group of 20 joined them in the spectacle.  

‘For about 20 minutes this kept happening until the sky was full and anybody with any sense took shelter,’ Mr James said.

‘The sound of their droppings landing was audible, like the initial large rain droplets that precede a storm.’ 

At the time he said noted that one outline they formed looked like a duck and at the same moment another young girl shouted ‘it’s a duck’ to her mother. 

Earlier this week Photographer James Crombie captured a murmuration over Lough Ennell, Co. Westmeath.

Photographer James Crombie captured the stunning murmuration of starlings swooping over Lough Ennell on Tuesday evening. The flock formed the outline of a giant bird

 Mr Crombie and friend Colin Hogg had been watching the starlings for weeks as they tried to find the ideal location for shooting the impressive footage. Mr Crombie told the Irish Times that he had already formed an ‘image in his head’ that he wanted to replicate

Stunning pictures show the astonishing moment a flock of starlings formed the shape of a giant bird over a lake on Tuesday. 

Mr Crombie made around 50 trips to Lough Ennell in the hope that he would capture the murmuration. 

He and Colin Hogg, a friend, had tracked the starlings for several weeks in a bid to find the ideal location for shooting the footage.

And, in December, Hannah Farah witnessed a flock of birds for the shape of a duck. 

She was visiting Fairburn Ings RSPB Nature Reserve, near Castleford, West Yorkshire, with her father, Peter Lau, and her children, nine-year-old Sonny and ten-year-old Kinza when the spectacle took place. 

The 31-year-old midwife, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, said: ‘I had never seen a murmuration before, so it was pretty spectacular.

‘It was amazing and so clear. Unbelievable really. I said to my dad at the time it was better than watching a firework display.’

Grouping together protects starlings from predators such as falcons who will find it difficult to target one bird in a pack of thousands.

Starlings also gather together to keep warm at night and to communicate. 

The starling population in the UK has fallen by more than 80 per cent in recent years meaning they are now on the list of birds most at risk. 


Little is known about why murmurations occur, although it has been suggested that the displays help starlings by confusing predators.

Each bird mimics the movement of its neighbour, which ripples out to the whole flock.

In 2014, a research team from Warwick discovered that it is the areas of light and dark in the flocks that allow the starlings to fly so close together.

The pattern of light and dark, formed as the birds attempt to achieve the necessary density, is what provides vital information to individual birds within the flock.

Pictured: An astonishing murmuration of starlings fly close to power lines at sunset near Gretna on the Scottish borders

Starlings are smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head and triangular wings.

From a distance they appear black, but close-up they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens.

Even though the species remains one of the most common garden birds, its decline elsewhere makes it a red list species as a bird of high conservation concern.

Source: RSPB 

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