The Death Star-ling: Birds form foreboding black orb in sky as solo sparrowhawk sweeps in for attack
- An amateur photographer captured the incredible moment a bird attacked a murmuration of starlings
- David Smith, 64, managed to get the perfect shot during a trip to a nature reserve at Northampton, Northants
- He said he had to wait for an hour to get the beautiful photo on November 26 at the Storton’s Pits reserve
An amateur photogrpaher captured the incredible moment a sparrowhawk attacked a murmuration of starlings at a nature reserve in Northampton, Northants.
David Smith, 64, was lucky enough to capture the perfect shot during a recent trip to a wildlife reserve above Storton’s Pits, Northants.
He snapped the beautiful image on November 26 at around 4:15pm after waiting for an hour for the show to start.
David Smith, 64, snapped the beautiful image during a trip to Storton’s Pits, a nature reserve in Northampton, Northants
Murmurations are large groups of starlings that flock together across the sky, usually at dawn or sunset- often creating beautiful shapes.
Each can contain up to 100,000 starlings from a single roost as thousands of starlings gather and set off seeking warmer climates.
It is not precisely known why starlings murmurate but experts believe it may be for protection or to sign-post a roost.
Another stunning murmuration of starlings took the shape of a giant heart in Bigbury-on-sea, Devon.
Annika, 40, and Martin Connolly, 44, captured the romantic image and said they estimated that thousands of starlings were forming the murmuration.
Another astonishing video has captured a flock of starlings as they formed the image of a heart in the sky during a sunset in Bigbury-on-sea, Devon
Annika said: ‘It was wonderful to see, it was mesmerising. We just sat there and wanted to keep watching because it’s just such a spectacle to watch.’
Another murmuration of starlings took the breathtaking form of a giant bird soaring across the horizon in Spain.
Daniel Biber, 53, captured the astonishing snap after observing thousands of birds and scouting locations across Costa Brava in northeastern Spain over a four-day period.
Another murmuration of starlings took the breathtaking form of a giant bird soaring across the horizon in Spain
In his photograph, the starlings merged into the shape of a giant bird moments before they were targetted by a predator and rushed out of the formation.
The unique snap went on to earn Mr Biber the top prize in an international photography competition, but the photographer said he only realised his luck once he reviewed the photographs on his computer.
Another amateur photographer managed to capture the moment thousands of starlings flocked together to form the image of the Loch Ness Monster emerging from the sea in Brighton.
Daniel Biber, 53, captured the astonishing snap after observing thousands of birds and scouting locations across Costa Brava in northeastern Spain over a four-day period
Bill Brooks, 65, captured the remarkable moment thousands of starlings flocked together to form the image of the Loch Ness Monster emerging from the sea in Brighton
Bill Brooks, 65 who decided to make a detour to Brighton Palace Pier after attending a photography course in East Sussex said he knew he only had about a ‘ten or 15 minute slot before sunset’ when the starlings would come in to roost under the pier and could murmurate.
Experts believe murmurations are formed partly for safety reasons so it is harder for a predator to target one bird.
Starlings also gather to keep warm at night and exchange information about feeding areas.
The best time to see a murmuration is in the early evening.
THE MYSTERY OF MURMURATIONS
Little is known about why murmurations occur, although it has been suggested that the displays help starlings by confusing predators.
Each bird mimics the movement of its neighbour, which ripples out to the whole flock.
In 2014, a research team from Warwick discovered that it is the areas of light and dark in the flocks that allow the starlings to fly so close together.
The pattern of light and dark, formed as the birds attempt to achieve the necessary density, is what provides vital information to individual birds within the flock.
Pictured: An astonishing murmuration of starlings fly close to power lines at sunset near Gretna on the Scottish borders
Starlings are smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head and triangular wings.
From a distance they appear black, but close-up they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens.
Even though the species remains one of the most common garden birds, its decline elsewhere makes it a red list species as a bird of high conservation concern.