Flocks of starlings dance bird ballet over Israel

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 30 at 7:07 AM

Ornithologists and amateur bird watchers flocked to southern Israel over the weekend to see the starlings and a rare phenomenon called "murmuration."
 
One bird expert said there are important reasons why the starlings join together and create the moving shapes.
 
"There are two reasons why few hundred thousands of starlings are coming together in the late evening because: one is to get the information where they have food and they will follow the ones who found the food,” said Yossi Leshem / Tel Aviv Univ.
 
"The second one is if a hawk is coming to catch one of the starlings, if it (the bird) is by itself it has a problem, but if they are (part of) a big flock they can open and close and move dramatically and then the hawk cannot catch them, and this is a protection against the hawks."
 
Starlings in these numbers have not been seen in Israel in 20 years.
 
The common starling used to fly to Israel from Russia and eastern Europe until the 1990s.
 
Then the flocks declined for an unknown reason, but their numbers began to grow in 2012.

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