July 18, 2014
University of Warwick
The mystery behind the movements of flocking starlings could be explained by the areas of light and dark created as they fly, new research suggests. The research found that flocking starlings aim to maintain an optimum density at which they can gather data on their surroundings. This occurs when they can see light through the flock at many angles, a state known as marginal opacity. The subsequent pattern of light and dark, formed as the birds attempt to achieve the necessary density, is what provides vital information to individual birds within the flock.