Flock Together

MurmurationThe old adage “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” is magically illustrated by Starling murmurations. Starlings move together in large numbers, often putting distance between themselves and their predators. Photographers have captured these amazing aerial formations, frequently caused by a falcon near the edge of the flock. The fluid movement of the flock can be determined by any one bird who might change speed or direction, causing an interaction and dynamic that physicists and researchers are studying.

A more scientific description of this phenomenon can be found by reading this All About Birds Blog by Andrea Alfano.  Last spring a large number of Starlings devoured the bird buffet in our back yard each day. I must admit to being annoyed at the time that they did not seem to share the bounty with other species. As quickly as I restocked, they ate, frequently knocking a large portion of the seed to the ground, where mostly squirrels would benefit. When this happened I regret to say that I was among those who view Starlings as pests. Upon further examination, I am pleased to say I have a new perception of them. Much like the maligned Crow, the Starlings seem to possess abilities worth appreciating. They are actually quite beautiful, too, with iridescent and dotted feathers.

This collage reverts to a process I initially used when working with collage a number of years ago. Texture is created by applying tinted gesso to the paper surface. A comb (actually a plastic lid cut with pinking sheers) is dragged through the wet gesso exposing layers of color beneath.  Drawing on top of the textured surface also creates more texture.

If you look very closely at the top section of the collage a larger bird appears to the right of the flock formation. This would be a Peregrine Falcon.  The Falcon might have less success once the flock of individuals bands together in harmony as one. Quite remarkable.

About circuitousjourney

Retired Art Teacher
This entry was posted in Art, Birds, collage, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Mixed Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Flock Together

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    The unified flight of a large flock of starlings is quite spectacular, and not easy to photograph. Your collage does a great job of demonstrating this unique and beautiful movement.

  2. kgjerdset says:

    Your work is truly amazing. And I am happy to see you chose to give the starlings some positive press. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! We found an injured Starling and gave it a towel in a shoebox to get it off of the snow. Sadly, it did not live, but hopefully felt a little love before it died.

      • kgjerdset says:

        I found a dying cardinal this winter. She unfortunately passed away a few hours after I brought her in but she was warm..and like you, I hope she felt some love. Nice to know there are kindred spirits out there like you.

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