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Still Waters

Flock of '140,000' birds reach record numbers

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Still Waters

The number of knot feeding and flying to create swirling dark clouds of birds on the Norfolk coast has reached record numbers.

For the first time about 140,000 have been seen on the RSPB reserve at Snettisham. The previous site record was 120,000 in the winter of 1990-91, the organisation said.

To see them is "just an extraordinary experience", said photographer Les Bunyan, who volunteers at the reserve on The Wash estuary.

"It's not just what you're looking at, it's also the sound you have to appreciate. When you get tens of thousands of birds flying around you - they make a lot of noise."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-54592215

There's a video in the above link.

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Buzz_Light_Year

I knew it! England has gone to the birds. :su

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Wepwawet

There was an experiment done in Rome a few years back to try to understand how a flock of starlings, with maybe more than a million individual birds, could move almost as one creature. The term "mass mind" has been used as a less than scientific explanation for a long time, but the experiments showed that each bird watched 7 other birds within view, and each of those 7 birds kept watch on 7 birds. By this method the entire flock was visually interlinked, and when one bird changed direction, typically because it had seen a predator, this set of a chain reaction as everybody is watching everybody else. What comes into play here is, as I wrote in another thread, the extreme miniaturization of the avian brain combined with a far higher density of neurons than mammals, which allows far quicker thought processes. I would suspect though that they do not actively think that they have to change direction when in a flock, but that there is an element of "automation", a reflex type action.

So while "mass mind" is not a thing as they are not neuraly interlinked, they seem to have the next best thing. The question remains as to how any bird takes a lead position and why the others then follow, and I mean that when roosting what determines that they take to the air, and when in the air how is it determined that they return to roost. The same can be asked of geese, ducks and other birds in their V formations. We know they are family groups and that the formation creates easier air conditions for the following birds, but who says, "Okay, time to take off, form formation on me" and how do they work out to rotate the lead. Then there's penguins, but I'll better stop here...

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Wepwawet

A bit late to edit, so..

This video is based on the Rome research made with radars. Also it wasn't one million starlings, it was four to five million.

 

Edited by Wepwawet
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