[Tweeters] murder + murmuration = murderation?

Nathaniel Peters ncpeters at uw.edu
Wed Nov 18 16:16:19 PST 2015


Hey Tweets,

I was in Renton yesterday evening at dusk doing some furniture shopping,
and when I exited the 405 I was presented with an awesome sight.

Thousands of crows and tens of thousands of starlings were wheeling through
the air in streams and waves or blanketing the surrounding trees and
buildings. The sight filled the entire visible sky in all directions,
which was particularly beautiful at dusk, and the cacophony of sound was
tremendous!

I pulled over my car, and took several minutes of video, which I am working
on getting online.

Whenever a murmuration of starlings would form in the air, the crows would
go crazy and a murder or several murders would lift off and try to follow
the starlings, albeit more slowly. The waves of both species would merge,
split, dissipate, and reform. For a few seconds, the sky would be empty,
and then everything would happen again.

I had never seen or heard of anything like this, so I called it a
murderation (murder + murmuration).

Truly mesmerizing!

Nathaniel Peters
Keck Microscopy Facility Manager
University of Washington
ncpeters at uw.edu
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