A Murmuration

This is an offering.

Right now, in the moment, I invite you to put your cares aside. You can hand them to me. I will take them like the coat from a guest as you step in the door. Instead of a coat room, I will put them in a cares room. A daycare. Mine are there already, jumping on the bed. Don’t worry, I’ve removed all the sharp objects.

Now then, sit down and relax. Cup of tea? Here you go.

We live in a truly amazing, outstanding, wonderful, beautiful world. As an example of this, I proffer something ordinary. Mundane even, if you live in an urban area and ever eat at a sidewalk cafe. Even if you live rurally, I guarantee that from the West to the East coast, flocks of these bird people have shown up at a field near you.

The European Starling.

Source. Oh, you’ve never noticed their feathers before? Mmmm hmmm. I’m working my magic, huh?

They get a lot of play for how they create sculptures in the air, called murmurations. I’ve even posted about them on this blog before. So if this is your first introduction, allow me to wow you.

This is one of the best I’ve seen. But there’s also this, and this, and this.

BUT. Have you ever listened close up to a Starling’s song? I wish I could embed the sound for you, but I can’t figure it out. So first, go here and also here, for the straight up amazingness.

Just their “plain” song would make any DJ weep (and I actually had a DJ friend stand with me, listening to one many years ago, and he bemoaned his lack of recording device). Not only are they highly skilled mimics, but they do so while improvising, like jazz scat, with whirrs, whistles, clicks and supersonic squeaks.

I’ve heard them mimic frogs, hawks, cell phones, jays, sheep and cats. But guess what happens when they are raised by humans?

I KNOW, right?

They are non-native, invasive birds (60 were released in Central Park in 1890 and now they live coast to coast). They are as pesky as Brewer Blackbirds, or Gulls, fluttering around your croissant at the outdoor cafe. They are often dismissed by bird enthusiasts…so common, such a mistake. But I’m here to say…I LOVE YOU STARLINGS!

A family of them return every year to our hood, picking the same nesting spots. Currently, I can see a pair building their abode in the eaves of the neighbor’s house. Periodically, the male flies to the top of a flag pole, and repairs rifts in the universe, stitching it back together with embroidery of sound.

So then. You have to get on with your day? I understand. Can I get your cares for you? Oh, they’ve gone, you say? Good. Mine too.



8 thoughts on “A Murmuration

  1. I love you.

    I’ve never met any starlings here, for whatever reason, but will be happy to commune with them this autumn, invasive though they are. When I’m home, I want to get to know all the birds, all the trees, all the little greens growing underfoot and overhead. This place has primed me to connect with my full heart and soul.


  2. Dear Mary ~
    Oh how my heart raced watching this special little video – Sheer Magic – Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Ah Starlings! A favourite of mine since I was a child. I have witnessed murmurations since I was tiny. Since before I ever knew there was a word for their soaring and swooping in unison. It has never failed to move me. They are often considered pests here too, but more for the cheeky way they chase even smaller birds away from bird-tables. My grandmother was/is always shouting at them! Thank you for the lovely post x

  4. bird ballet.


    why does it happen?

    why are they undulating and swirling and pulsing and throbbing?

    do they know it’s beautiful?????



  5. Mary,
    I’ve always had hard feelings about the Starling, but you point out his beauty. Looks dressed for a masquerade ball. My little Miles was transfixed by the murmurations. Truly magical. Thanks!

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