[Tweeters] mutteration on murmuration

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Mon Nov 9 20:31:06 PST 2015

Now that someone on the new Facebook Western Washington Birders public group has posted about a murmuration of Snow Geese, i sense that maybe, in the interest of education, it is time to revisit a definition of murmuration. This was a discussion on Tweeters a year or 2 ago, and I remember someone's video from a kayak, maybe up in the San Juans somewhere (or elsewhere) and Bud Anderson's mention that within such a huge group of starling-sized birds doing the wonderful sky dance, is usually a predator bird like a Peregrine Falcon, stimulating the massive sweeps and swerves of the members of the flock. I do not recall if we Tweets, actually formulated a definition of a murmuration that would help folks determine if what they are seeing and hearing, is a true murmuration. Or does it matter? In some online research I did this afternoon, starlings were the bird primarily featured, with a mention that sometimes other small birds mix in with them. So, is bird size an issue? Bird color? Does movement style have to be that turn-on-a-dime swerviness and up-and-down wave action ? Do the birds need to 'murmur' in a specific way or does something like cawing or 'honking' eliminate a bird family from being allowed into the category of 'murmurating' birds ?

Here's a link to that NWCN video from Sun. night, that brought up the questions again, that Caryn and Devorah spoke to in posts today, and Sue, a friend, asked me about last night.


If you know or recall some truths that are a part of the definition of "a murmuration", please feel free to step into the conversation. If not, then some of us will just continue to mutter about it for awhile :-)

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net
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