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That's a heap of Starlings. Quite balletic in their maneuvers.
 

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Wow! Thanks, Frank! Here is another thing that's always held a fascination for me . . . this mass behavior in birds & fish. I used to include bees too, but that involves a queen, so doesn't quite fit. Flocks of birds & schools of fish have no leader - they just go. This is amazing footage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is nonetheless spectacular (I think) when looked at in purely mathematical and evolutionary terms: the flocking (or schooling) behaviour is protective against predators both in confusing them with a multitude of potential and constantly moving targets, and by giving the overwhelming appearance of a single very much larger organism; and also in the relatively simple rules employed by each element in this system, such as: fly as close as possible to the next bird(s) without colliding, changing direction as your neighbours do so, and try to stay away from the edge of the flock (you are more likely to be taken by predators on the outsides).

Nature has a way with these self-organising systems: which I believe we try to explain using chaos theory. Another example are humble sand-dunes which can form random but recognisably ordered patterns and moving systems over vast areas, and yet are formed from nothing more than the action of wind on countless, virtually identical, and tiny, grains of sand.

The most miraculous for me is in embryology where: the single cell of a fertilised egg divides in two, these in turn divide into four, four into eight, eight into sixteen etc... until there is a ball of nothing but countless billions of identical cells... on cue (and we don't yet know what that cue is) these billions of identical cells begin to organise and differentiate into skin, eyes, brain, toes, fingernails, liver etc... I might even go so far as to suggest that one way of looking at humans is as a vast colony of single cells... much like a flock of starlings :hippie:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Of course that is not to say some other animals haven't found a way to use fish-schooling behaviour to their own advantage...

 
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Reminds me of saying here on the coast, you the birds flock to over come predation,,,,sooo cut your chanes half of shark attack while surfing, surf with buddy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Marty that reminds me of the story with the two guys being chased by a Grizzly bear... as one stops to put on his running shoes the other says "don't be daft, you can't outrun a grizzly" to which the first replies "I only have to outrun you!" :D
 
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