Spectacular starling murmuration filmed above Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Ieva Meksraityte
A murmuration of swooping starlings which covered "half the sky" has been filmed above Great Yarmouth.
The mesmerizing spectacle, an evening routine at this time of year, saw thousands of the birds whirl above the Market Gates shopping centre and surrounding streets on Friday (February 5).
The footage, taken by 28-year-old Ieva Meksraityte, from Norwich, shows the starlings flying together in a perfectly co-ordinated mass.
Ms Meksraityte said she was walking to her uncle's house when she saw the birds. "The more I was walking, the flock just kept getting bigger and bigger.
"It covered half the sky, it was just pulsating, I couldn't take my eyes away.
"It was just an unbelievable view, I could hear them above me, I could even feel them almost.
"I feel so lucky I saw it," she said.
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According to The Woodland Trust, each starling follows the movement of the six closest birds.
Their lightning-fast reactions – under 100 milliseconds – and superb spatial awareness mean if one bird changes speed or direction, those around it do too.
This ripples through the murmuration and means they're able to fly at speeds of around 20mph without crashing in mid-air.
The hypnotic display is said to offer safety in numbers, warmth at night, and the chance to exchange information, such as good feeding areas.
They gather over their roosting site and perform their aerobatic stunts before they roost for the night.
According to the British Trust for Ornithology starling numbers have fallen by 66pc since the mid 1970s in the UK and are a red listed species.