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Amazing starling flight formation

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No one really knows why they do it but there are plenty of theories.

Re how they do it, recent research is yielding some useful information:

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

SUPER STARLING from The John 10:10 Project on Vimeo.

If I had to start guessing how they really do it, I'd start looking at magnetic fields. Birds are intensely aware of the earth's magnetism, and can get knocked off course by a radio transmitter. If the leader emits a magnetic field with a changing shape, the others would be able to see the delta between the leader's command and the earth's field to shape their movements. All of them would respond at appropriate times a few seconds after the leader's commands, like an orchestra reading the conductor's baton. polistra
That is really cool. And being a neighborhood birdwatcher with many feeders in my yard, I now have a new found respect for Starlings. I observe they tend to feed in packs and seem a little pushy. lol Andrew asauber
Fantastic. Following one leader doesn't seem like a good explanation for the situations where one 'torus' of birds moves forward or backward all at once. You can get a one-dimensional wave or spiral by following one leader, but block moves require preplanning and SIMULTANEOUS decisions. The birds would need to follow a fairly distant leader, and would need to know when 'my bunch' follows leader 1 and when we follow leader 2, or split and follow leaders 3 and 4, etc. I'll bet people who have participated in school bands, doing complex marching patterns, could explain how this type of move is planned? polistra
Sir Isaac Newton once said, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence.”, but for the rest of us not as intellectually gifted as Newton was I hold that the amazing Starling flight formation will do the job! :) bornagain77

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