November 22, 2011

I’d like to welcome our new readers to "Cool Picture of the Week"! Every Tuesday, we post a particularly striking photograph from the natural world in this space.

Today’s shot was taken on Gretna Green, in Scotland, at a place where photographers go to catch European Starlings swooping through the sky in formations that scientists still cannot explain. How does a flock of thousands of birds fly in such tight formation, all darting, turning, diving at the same moment? No one knows for sure.

I love the term for a big, swooping flock like this. It is called a "murmur of starlings." (if you are British, you probably call it a "murmuration").

The reason this was selected as this week’s photo is because of the shape of the flock. Doesn’t it look like a dolphin, escaping the jaws of a killer whale?! There you have it, the Seymour Science Cool Photo of the Week.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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