Mesmerizing murmuration © Mediaworld Images/Alamy
Around this time of year, as temperatures dip in the Northern Hemisphere, European or common starlings put on a dazzling show. Most of the time, these noisy birds are scorned for their bullying behavior at the bird feeder. But in autumn months, they gather to roost in huge flocks, as they’re doing here in Blackpool, England. At dusk, the starlings take flight en masse and flock together in a hypnotizing, swirling cloud of fluttering wings. These flocks are called mumurations. They"re thought to help keep the birds warm while also acting as a defensive tactic to confuse predators like hawks and falcons. But maybe the raptors are rendered harmless simply because they’re awestruck by the starlings" synchronized spectacle.