Friday, 2 January 2009
Message From The Skies
Starlings do many amazing things. Quite apart from their uncanny gift for mimicry- mobile phones, police car klaxons and even long forgotten sounds still residing in their genes- they also like group activities. In their superb England in Particular, Sue Clifford and Angela King of Common Ground say "This cheeky bird, with its iridescent plumage, provides us with one of the most spectacular occurrences in nature- murmurations of starlings wheeling like shape-shifting clouds in the evening sky. Twenty years ago these winter aerial displays would have comprised millions of birds, but today we are fortunate to see groups of fifty thousand...". Apparently one of the most jaw-dropping displays were their acrobatics over the old West Pier in Brighton before its final collapse in 2004. Starlings are decreasing in numbers as their food supply lessens and their roosting places disappear. So, more follies! My farmer friend David has been out recently with his camera, and with his persistence with a murmuration near The Langtons in Leicestershire he caught them arranging themselves into a perfect number two. "You must blog this" he said, and very kindly lent me this photograph. I give it to you on the number two day of January. Happy New Year!