Because Murmurations

I learned a new word today:


Had you asked me about it yesterday, I might have guessed, more or less correctly, that it had to do with “a low, continuous sound, as of a brook, the wind, or trees, or of low, indistinct voices” (as copied from But that just covers half of it.

That covers “murmur”, but I had no idea that “murmurations”, insofar that I was even aware of the word, had to do with birds!

mur·mur·a·tion [mur-muhrey-shuhn]

  1. an act or instance of murmuring.
  2. a flock of starlings.

Starlings? Well, we know what starlings do, don’t we? I’d like to think that flocks of starlings (or flocks of birds doing the same thing) is what people used to look at before we got fancy, psychedelic computer graphics. In fact, these days we have computer graphics trying to do what starlings used to do, and still do, in the comfort of your own living room, or wherever in your home that you tend to watch fancy computer graphics.

But the computer simulations only go so far, and starlings do this outdoors, for real, and it’s awesome to look at. Here’s a couple of videos:

Two girls paddling their canoe
right underneath a huge flock of murmuring birds

60,000 Starlings in flight
with two falcons hunting them

I could easily fill this blog post to the brim and beyond with dozens and dozens of videos of murmurations, but I’ll leave it to you to look them up yourself on Youtube and elsewhere. Be warned, though: You can easily lose a dozens and dozens of hours watching them.


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