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Understanding How Starlings Use Their ‘Confusion Effect’

Nature By
Algiers, flock of starlings flying over a park at sunset
A flock of starlings flying over a park at sunset. (Getty Images)

 

Starling flocks are, by any standard, overwhelming. To begin with, they flock in large numbers: hundreds to thousands of birds. Then they fly together in a mesmerizing pattern known as a murmuration. The result is a “confusion effect”; the massive numbers of swirling birds are genuinely disorienting to hunters, be they falcons, hawks, or humans. Yes, scientists have come up with a simulator to see how people handle this effect. Answer: Largely the same way the birds of prey do. To read more about confusion effect, click here, or just watch the video below to see it in practice.

 

RealClearLife Staff