Incredible footage: a peregrine falcon hunting in a murmuration of starlings

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Not too long ago, I posted about a murmuration of starlings in flight over Istanbul. The sight of it stopped me in my tracks nightly as clouds of birds circled their way around the city.  

Here’s another version of the remarkable phenomenon over Rome, with a peregrine falcon hunting for its dinner:


A friend sent me this footage today, shot by John Downer Productions and BBC as part of their EarthFlight series. What blew me away was how close the camera got to these birds. According to the Earthflight website:

To create its bird’s-eye view of the world Earthflight uses a host of extraordinary filming techniques including filming “imprinted” flocks from microlites, wild flocks filmed from model gliders and silent drones, full-sized helicopter with stabilised mounts and cameras on the backs of trained birds. Slow-motion techniques also reveal extraordinary detail such as swallows plucking feathers from the air.

Looking forward to the rest of these videos in the series. Beautiful stuff.


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Murmuration of Starlings over Istanbul

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Istanbul is a lovely city to explore but a curious thing happens at dusk: murmurations of starlings swirl their way across the city’s many rooftops, clustering on a tree then continuing on their graceful path. For anyone who has seen starlings in flight, it’s an incredible, magical sight.
Walking back to the hostel yesterday, a cloud of starlings passed overhead, curling around the buildings:

But photos can only capture so much. Thankfully, Sophie Windsor Clive from Ireland had a video camera with her when she stumbled on a murmuration of starlings:

 [vimeo w=500&h=400]

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

As Wired Magazine noted in an article about starling physics:

Mathematical analysis of flock dynamics show how each starling’s movement is influenced by every other starling, and vice versa. It doesn’t matter how large a flock is, or if two birds are on opposite sides. It’s as if every individual is connected to the same network.

The article also makes it clear that the connectivity of movement as a whole is something scientists have yet to understand. The strong correlation between each of the birds remains a mystery, but one that is beautiful to behold.


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