Thursday 13 December 2018

Watch: Mesmerising starling murmuration in west Cork outsmarts preying falcon

Mark McConville

'Best ever murmuration'.

The moment hundreds of starlings gathered together to perform a spectacular murmuration has been caught on camera.

Grouping together to form different shapes, the birds can be seen flying over their roosting site before suddenly swooping to the ground for the night.

Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch captured this incredible footage in Timoleague which shows a Peregrine Falcon arriving during a starling murmuration and left unable to make a kill.

"This was certainly the best Peregrine Falcon interaction. It’s been going on since the beginning of November. I go every day . As the winter goes on the number of birds is building up. Most of these birds will be from Scandinavia and Russia spending the winter here," Peter Wolstenholme told

"Every few days the Peregrine pays a visit, but the murmuration confuses it and I haven't seen it take a bird . A sparrow hawk did the same with no success and then learnt to go and sit in the wood where they roost and grab one when they come in.

"It’s the most exciting wildlife happening anywhere in Ireland."

'I find this more fascinating than the Northern Lights', a reader commented on Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch's Facebook post.

Another posted, 'Amazing! Obviously, the birds do it when there is a predator about'.

'Simply incredible'.

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