Have you ever wondered the science hidden behind birds?
When we say birds, the first thing that comes to our mind is the science of biology. But did ever imagine the science of physics having a prominent role to play in the most fascinating aerial ballet?
Flocks of starling birds, close to hundreds and thousands of them fly together in mesmerising and changing patterns, whirling and twirling in synchronising movements.
This amazing phenomenon of the starling birds is called Murmuration.
Cutting-edge physics explains this beautiful phenomenon. The starlings always seem to be connected together, twisting, turning and changing patterns at a moment’s notice. It is a marvel to see this amazing coordination between these thousands of birds, which achieve perfect coordination in flight.
The starling flocks can be described with equations of critical transitions. These are nothing but systems that are on the edge, ready to be changed and transformed in an instant. They are poised to tip and get completely transformed within an instant, creating some astounding formations that are a visual treat to the eyes.
Just like liquids change into gases, the sudden forming of avalanches, the formation of crystals, and magnetisation of metals, the starling birds are connected to each other and move in phase transition. The starlings in the flock are always connected and coordinated with seven of their neighbours, achieving something called as scale-free correlation, a complex physical phenomenon.
The fluidity of the starling flock of birds is simply stunning. There are no subparts in the group. Without any degradation of information, the birds change simultaneously. The response is so startling, because regardless of the size of the flock, when one bird changes direction, the immediate seven neighbours change their speed and direction, simultaneously.
Murmurations are generally actions that arise purely out of defence. These Starlings strive to put considerable distance between themselves and the predator.
The connect between the starlings is enormous and it is this connection combined with some awesome physics, that causes this beautiful synchrony of coordinated movements.
Check these videos on starlings murmuration ( Source – YouTube )