Last week I witnessed an enormous flock of Starlings flying north at sunset over I-80 over the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (between Sacramento and Davis). I estimated the flock to be about a ½ mile long and averaged about 300 yards wide. Given their tight formation, if the birds were about 2 ft apart from each other (say, 1 bird every 4 sq ft), there would have been about 600,000 birds in this flock. They may have been tighter, and thus my estimate would be low.
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>>> "Debbie Viess" <amanitarita@...> 12/1/2005 11:47 AM >>>
Driving home from Mendocino this past weekend, along Hwy. 101, just
south of Healdsburg, my husband David and I saw an amazing sight. Flying
over the vineyards and distant low hills in the Dry Creek area to the
east were huge flocks of something. I say "something" because at first,
it wasn't apparent what the flocks were composed of (insects? birds?
confused bats?). What drew our eye was the way that the flocks formed
and shifted, causing visibly recognizable shapes to appear, like a
tadpole, and other weird geometric forms. This was both a little freaky,
and a whole lot of amazing. In fact, it was so cool that we got off the
freeway and found a frontage road, to try and get a better picture of
the flock composition, and just to better groove on the amazing visuals.
We found our flock, and it was composed of thousands of birds, but they
were still too far away to get a species ID. My take on them was that
they were blackbirds.the general size and shape were correct, as well as
their agricultural location; flying blackbirds have always reminded me
of mobile pluses and minuses, with their wing and body lengths about
equal to the eye, and this flock exhibited those traits. But wow, what
an amazing display of "flock consciousness". I have never seen anything
quite like it.
Once again, I am awed and humbled by my brush with the mysteries of
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