Expert's answer 0 + –
A resident of the Krasnodar Territory captured a “ cloud of starlings '' on video. Dozens of birds formed a real mobile cloud, which moved smoothly across the sky. Scientists call this phenomenon murmuring (from the Latin murmuratio “ muttering, buzzing ''). AiF.ru found out from an expert why birds arrange such 'air dances'.
How many birds can a murmur combine and what is it?
Murmur & mdash; this is not a fully understood process that can be observed only in some species of flocking birds. In addition to starlings, in Africa, weavers (a family of the passerine detachment. – author's note), which keep in flocks of millions, arrange murmuring, said candidate of biological sciences, ornithologist, senior researcher at the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov Evgeny Koblik … Thus, during murmuring, a flock can unite from a hundred to a million birds and move across the sky in intricate shapes.
“ Imagine that thousands of birds simultaneously change their direction of flight. Amazing figures appear in the air, consisting of thousands of points. Now they are collected in some kind of balls, then they are pulled out by ribbons. Moreover, in the same flock, some of the birds can fly down, while the other – & mdash; keep flying horizontally. This is a mesmerizing sight '', & mdash; noted by the expert.
Usually birds show such aerobatics at sunset. Their movement in the sky is a bit like the movement of schools of fish underwater, which also synchronously show complex shapes in sync.
Why do birds do this?
There are two explanations for this phenomenon. According to the first version, the murmur & mdash; it is the process of teaching young birds to fly.
“ It is assumed that this is how adult starlings teach young ones to fly. But the synchronicity with which they do it does not allow us to accept this version to the end. Inexperienced birds would be knocked out of the flock. And here, it is obvious that the birds are interconnected by some invisible biofields and biocurrents, so everything is synchronous. Teaching young people doesn't work like that. And why, then, do not other species of birds teach young people to fly in this way? & mdash; Koblik emphasized.
The second version, according to the scientist-ornithologist, is more plausible & mdash; birds are trying to protect themselves.
“Murmur” it is a kind of protection from predators. When the flock suddenly begins to change direction, the feathered predators (hawks or falcons), which hunt starlings, lose their orientation and do not know who to grab. But there are also questions here. When schools of fish in the water also change direction, the same dolphins or sharks calmly snatch the fish out of the school '', & mdash; explained the expert.
However, Evgeny Koblik has his own version of murmur. According to the scientist, “ air dances '' about 1.5 & mdash; He managed to see 2 thousand starlings in January 2014 in Israel. For half an hour, a Russian ornithologist watched the birds. As a result, he got the impression that they were just playing.
“ We underestimate some birds and animals. It seems to us that they only do what they sleep, looking for food and marriage partners. They no longer have any deeds and emotions. In fact, many highly intelligent animals with developed brains enjoy ordinary games. It is enough to look at our ravens, at the games of otters, which do not spend so much time hunting. The rest of the time they frolic with each other. Maybe there is no utilitarian meaning in murmuring: to increase the flight speed, reaction speed, or something else. It's just an element of the game and it is not alien to birds. It seems to me that they enjoy such flights. There is even such a scientific term for animals & mdash; comfortable behavior. I think that speaking of murmur, we are dealing with elements of comfortable behavior '', & mdash; thinks Evgeny Koblik.
Is it true that starlings sing during murmuring?
No, it's not true. During the period of murmuring, starlings communicate with each other with short chirping cries. They usually sing in the evenings, when they sit on branches before spending the night, the expert summed up.