Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Startling Science of a Starling Murmuration


Watch this amazing video

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.
A chance encounter and shared moment with one of natures greatest and most fleeting phenomena.

One of our Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter Members sent this amazing video to me for the blog. I had never heard of this, but find it intriguing as it reminds me of a "bait boil" out on the ocean. This took place on the River Shannon, so I want my sister and family in Ireland to see this too! Pass it on!

WiredScience shares this 
Video of a massive starling flock turning and twisting over a river in Ireland has gone viral, and with good reason. Flocking starlings are one of nature’s most extraordinary sights: Just a few hundred birds moving as one is enough to convey a sense of suspended reality, and the flock filmed above the River Shannon contained thousands.

What makes possible the uncanny coordination of these murmurations, as starling flocks are so beautifully known? Until recently, it was hard to say. Scientists had to wait for the tools of high-powered video analysis and computational modeling. And when these were finally applied to starlings, they revealed patterns known less from biology than cutting-edge physics.

Starling flocks, it turns out, are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems that are poised to tip, to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling in a flock is connected to every other. When a flock turns in unison, it’s a phase the rest of this article here.

1 comment:

  1. it!!! Thanks for sharing this Shellie.
    Dixie, Riverine Chapter, VMN


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