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Murmuration or “The Art of Flying”

The Art of Flying is a short film about “murmurations”: the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding.

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  • Doug December 11, 2017, 11:04 AM

    If you can crack that nut you’ll also figure out how hive mind leftists think and spout Media Matters talking points like robots.

  • Casey Klahn December 11, 2017, 11:35 AM

    We never knew it until some birders discovered: a half million migrating shorebirds on a weekend in the springtime will layover in my hometown. They perform these aerial displays by type, and several are happening all at once. Don’t go there, though. It sucks.

  • Mike December 11, 2017, 11:42 AM

    Actually, back in 1986 a computer scientist named Craig Reynolds figured out that each individual bird only needed to follow 3 rules, and created a simulation called boids. Here is one implementation: https://owenmcnaughton.github.io/Boids.js/

  • ghostsniper December 11, 2017, 1:26 PM

    That boids thing is pretty cool.
    Just read about this phenom somewhere this morning, something about predator and prey (poids and sharks?), and each bird is constantly trying to get to the center of the herd to avoid becoming a victim. Dense urban areas demonstrate the same thing.

    Me? A high speed moving target in a sparsely populated area is the place to be if survival is your goal.

  • Ed December 12, 2017, 12:50 AM

    I’ve seen similar flights of starlings. Circumstances were late summer, sunset, birds assembled each evening and put on a show. Darkness descended and they dispersed. That was in the northern fringe of the Corn Belt, 1958. If it was like here in the Central Sierra at that time of year, it might have been a flight of beetles or those insufferable face flies. We could have used a few million starlings over the last few years. Ips moved in this year, following the damned pine bark beetles. Bat populations enjoy that, but can’t keep up.

    Crows are fun to stalk. We don’t have the large flocks here in the mountains like we had in the Midwest back then. Patience is critical. Don’t get me started.

  • ghostsniper December 12, 2017, 6:48 AM

    Hey, Edward, leave them crows alone!

    The Wall

  • A. N. Onymous December 12, 2017, 8:30 AM

    I thought they were democrats trying to figure out a winning strategy. Everyone following everyone else, never arriving anywhere despite lots of movement and noise, nevermind the smell.

  • Ed December 12, 2017, 12:14 PM

    Ghost: I stalked them. I wasn’t hunting them. You must be very patient. They send out scouts before moving to another tree. I hopscotched all over the interior of a section of farm land getting closer and closer until I was right under the main flock.

    I thought of adding to my first comment that if I had been ghostsniper, I could have put a 12 ga shell on the muzzle of a bb gun, pointed it upward, and bagged a bunch of crows. That would have been a gross error on my part. I’m glad I didn’t.

    I have respect for crows. I just played ’em.

  • ghostsniper December 12, 2017, 12:51 PM

    Ed: I’m a fan of crows, luvs em luvs em luvs em. And all the other creatures.
    Yesterday the blue jays came back, finally, and they partook heavily on the new double shepherds hook I installed outside my north office door with 2 suets on it. A little later the BIG GURL came by and then the BIG BOY, a couple of pileated woodpeckers. Man they’re prehistoric, and their eyes are downright predatory. Scaled down pteradactyls and in flight they look like thunderbirds. The males have red on their cheeks. And do they ever talk their shit. The females are the worst. jabber jabber jabber, even while stabbing the suet with their beaks. When I hear her running that line I wait a few minutes then open the door scaring her off so that she doesn’t destroy the whole suet, the sparrow, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches and blackcap chickadees wanna eat to ya know. Someones gotta be in charge around here otherwise there’d be anarchy and misery for all, so I am the chosen one to regulate the wilderness ebt cards. heh

  • Ed December 12, 2017, 1:14 PM

    “Hey, Edward, leave them crows alone!”

    I saw what you did there. Didn’t see the hint til just now.

    I am plagued by blue jays. They shit all over the deck. I bought a couple plastic red tailed hawk decoys, the last at Tractor Supply. They work like a charm. I see the power company over around Cayucos uses owl decoys on their poles to keep birds off’n the lines along 101.

  • Klaus December 12, 2017, 2:31 PM

    Identicle behavior can be seen in schools of fish like sardines for example.

  • Snakepit Kansas December 14, 2017, 7:15 PM

    Ed,
    I love the squawking Blue Jay. It reminds me of mornings at my grandmothers’s house in WVA under a large sycamore and gum tree. Every time I hear them, it takes me back.

    The crows at work hate me and sound the alarm as soon as I get out of my vehicle. I think they purposefully crap on my truck after I go into the building. Yes, I throw snowballs at them in the winter.

    In Kansas: Face flies = Pecker Gnats. Hate ’em.