It sounds like a thousand squeaky screen doors being opened and closed: metallic, raspy, and loud. The unusual noise accompanies huge flocks of acrobatic birds that darken the sky. These large groups of starlings visit our area periodically, and despite my worries that they’ll empty the bird feeders in five seconds flat, these travelers don’t even seem to notice them.
In fact, these great groups simply pass by in giant shadows – a twisting and turning mass, raucous, but astonishingly coordinated. Hundreds, if not thousands, of individual birds somehow manage to stay together as they rapidly change direction, briefly settling in treetops like ebony ornaments. And then – as suddenly as they swooped in – they’re gone, and the silence of their absence is pronounced.
Have you seen a murmuration? Learn more about this phenomenon here.