NPR | Jan. 30, 2014 2:17 p.m.
You’ve seen them. We’ve all seen them.
Hundreds of starlings are sitting side by side by side — up on a power line yakking, preening — when all of a sudden, boom! Up they go, all of them. What happened? A sudden noise? A falcon in the neighborhood? Whatever it was, all the birds know. All the birds go. Starlings find safety in numbers. They like sameness. Exceptional starlings, I imagine, get eaten.
Well, that’s what I used to think. Then, today, I saw my first unlike-all-the others-starling. At least I think I did.