All over the UK spectacular shapes will be forming in the sky as one of nature’s most mesmerizing spectacles gets underway.
According to the RSPB, November is the best time of year to witness a starling murmuration – an impressive wildlife sight where flocks of hundreds of thousands of starlings gather noisily at dusk to perform a dazzling aerial display.
The birds quickly swoop and whirl in unison, creating different shapes and waves in the sky. An RSPB volunteer even managed to capture on camera the moment a starling murmuration formed a heart shape in the sky at RSPB Old Moor in South Yorkshire.
RSPB volunteer Nicola Stables said: “It is absolutely breathtaking to witness a mass of thousands of birds whirling and diving in the sky. It was incredible to be standing on the reedbed path watching them right above our heads at times. The shapes they were making enthralled everyone watching.”
Each year the UK’s starling numbers are boosted by migrating arrivals from continental Europe to spend the winter months here. At dusk, the noisy birds will gather over their roosting site, and perform their wheeling stunts before plunging down to their roosting spot to settle for the night.
RSPB Wildlife Advisor Charlotte Ambrose said: “Many of us see starlings in our gardens but to see this amazing display at dusk is a real treat and an unforgettable moment. It’s believed they do this to keep safe from predators and then settle down to keep warm and exchange information.”
The starling murmuration at RSPB Old Moor is building by the day and around 10,000 have been seen leaving their roost, but numbers can reach up to 100,000 birds at some locations across the country. Some of the largest and most impressive have been witnessed at RSPB Fen Drayton and RSPB Leighton Moss reserves.
Murmurations can be spotted on RSPB reserves up and down the country. To find a nature reserve near you visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
Old Moor Wetland Centre RSPB reserve is Old Moor Lane, Bolton upon Dearne, Barnsley S73 0YF.