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Murmurations of Starlings


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#1 dirac

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:20 AM

Some beautiful formations in the sky. I had never heard of "murmurations," before, beautiful word, too.

If you're like me, you only learned the delightful word murmuration—the term for a group of starlings, used especially when a flock is seen in the kind of flight formations filmed above—a little over a year ago, when a gorgeous web video of such formations went viral.



#2 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:00 PM

Heavens, these "murmurations" really took me back a great number of years. When I went to school, we had a book with literally pages of all these English expressions - a gaggle of geese - a pride of lions etc. I think there was one of those words for about every animal on the planet. I do remember murmurations now, not a word one uses on a daily basis, though. But I will search for that book, it must be lurking somewhere here, having been carted around Europe as I found it worth hanging on to, and I will revive some old memories. It was real serious in my days, when I looked at my daughters' English school books I didnt think much about them. Except one which DD had when she was in Santa Barbara: Betty
Schrampfer Azar - Understanding and using English grammar. Publisher Mary Jane Peluso - Longman 1999. I do recommend it to the serious student of English!
Thanks, Dirac, for making me smile!

#3 dirac

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

You're quite welcome, Pamela. There was a good PBS special not long ago on another group of our feathered friends called "A Murder of Crows." They're called collective nouns, and Wikipedia has a list.

#4 bart

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:16 PM

Beautiful. Something deserving the word "awesome'" if that has any longer has serious significance given its overuse on our present day. I've seen this phenomenon occasionally in early evening but did not know they were starlings. Amazing to think that murmerations like this are composed of vast numbers of individuals. I don't know how they got 'murmer' for the sound of starlings, but I do love 'dissimulations' for the visual effect.

Thanks, dirac, for the Wikipedia list of collective nouns. i have seen 'clouds' of bats, also at nightfall, and now know what to call them.

#5 dirac

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 04:29 AM

They're baaack......

 

As well as mapping when and where they happen, the team wants to explore why this aerial ballet takes place.

 

One long-standing but unproven idea is that the dramatic, rippling shapes help save the starlings from bigger birds trying to eat them.

 

 



#6 macnellie

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 08:15 AM

Also known as 'terms of venery.' I had a wonderful book called "An Exaltation of Larks!" Wish I could find it. "A Koch of one-percenters." ......anyone?


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