Aerial dance of thousands of starlings in the skies over ScotlandBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/aerial-dance-of-thousands-of-starlings-in-the-skies-over-scotland.html
In the Scottish town of Gretna Green, from late autumn to early spring you can watch amazing bird “air shows”. During their annual migration, European starlings (sturnus vulgaris) fly to Scotland for the winter, driven by frost from their native places in Russia and Scandinavia. Taking off, flocks of these birds, looking like huge black clouds, form bizarre figures in the sky.
The annual migration of starlings is a reminder that winter is on its way: every year the birds fly here from colder places and stay until spring. Their wintering range is located in the southern part of the British Isles, but the birds are especially numerous in the small Scottish town of Gretna Green, where these photographs were taken.
During wintering, starlings organize “aerial dances” every day: approximately an hour before sunset, hordes of birds flock from all surrounding areas.
During wintering, every day at sunset, many starlings “start dancing” in the sky, performing collective pirouettes.
Every day at sunset, many starlings “start dancing” in the sky, performing collective pirouettes.
More than a million birds, flying far and wide in huge flocks, can easily be mistaken for a rapidly approaching thundercloud by uninformed people.
Having migrated in their millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape the winter frosts, the birds gather in flocks of incredible shapes.
Scientists aren't sure exactly how or why starlings perform these celestial dances. Even complex algorithmic models cannot explain the acrobatic sketches of starlings, which change their direction in a hundredth of a millisecond to avoid collisions, and at the same time attacks from predators.
Despite this display of power, the number of starlings in the UK has fallen markedly in recent years, possibly due to a reduction in nesting sites. However, the birds still roam Britain's rural grasslands, heading to bed after an evening of ballet.
The birds' collective pirouettes are so impressive that tourists flock to Gretna Green to watch the evening "air shows".
Many come here to see with their own eyes a huge group of several thousand individuals flying, while they synchronously repeat turns, parry and land on the ground, scattering over a large area.
Moving synchronously in the air, the birds create amazing and sometimes funny figures.