urban wild

and
the starlings of rome
2 0 0 8

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crucial

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f l o c k

GETHER
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DISTANCE

between each bird, but the number of birds

b e t w e e n

i n d i v i d u a l s

f l y i n g

starlings of rome

t h a t w a s u n t i l a t e a m o f r e s e a r c h e r s i n i t a l y c o n c l u d e d g r o u n d b r e a k i n g s t u d i e s o n t h e

Until 2008, no-one had been able to collect enough evidence of how starlings flock together to test such ideas. That was until a team of researches in Italy conducted ground breaking studies on the starlings of Rome. They found that the crucial factor determining the

shape of a flock is not the distance between

each bird, but the number of birds

fl y i n g b e t we e n i n d i v i d u a l s.

d u r i n g

a

u

a tu ut m m , n , u n

dark clouds
m m nn

e
sky above
s p e c t a c l e s

arly evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see

across Rome as they perform their aerial dance

but these are no aa uu

ordinary
tt uu

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in the

to

for m

and choose their communal night-time shelter.

They roost in places that are sheltered from

w i l d l i f e

During autumn, dark clouds begin to form in the sky above Rome. But these are no ordinary clouds. They are one of Italy's most incredible wildlife spectacles.

harsh weather and predators.

F r o m N o v e m b e r t o F e b r u a r y, h u n d r e d s o f t h o u s a n d s o f starlings tur n the sky black around Rome. T he birds come tog ether in hug e clouds, wheeling, tur ning, and swooping in unison in what is known as

'murmation'.
i n h u g e

turn the sky
a r o u n d r o m e . t h e b i r d s c l o u d s , w h e e l i n g , t u r n i n g , i n u n i s o n i n w h a t i s k n o w n c o m e t o g e t h e r a n d s w o o p i n g a s ' m u m u r a t i o n

dark clouds begin to form in the sky above

black
rome
during autumn

LINGS

i
w h e r e t h e

ST AR

They tend to roost in cliffs, buildings, and industrial structures. During the day, however, they form daytime roosts at exposed places such as treetops, where the birds
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have good all-around visibility.

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