WPC: Dense

The close-knit patterning of a starling makes for effective camouflage in grassland when shot in high contrast monochrome. But starling plumage is not intended to blend in – they rely on colour recognition to choose their mates and social groups. Since all birds see in colour (and more colours than humans can discern or register) we cannot imagine how the iridescent summer plumage appears to them. Nor could I ever imagine that these once common British starlings could be in serious decline. The dense murmurations of winter flocks obscures their true loss.starling_monochrome

For the WordPress weekly photo challenge Dense

Sturnus vulgaris: The epithet of vulgaris is sadly something of a misnomer as British starlings today are far from common. Their populations have been in decline since the 1980s  and they are now on the red list of endangered birds. see BTO: Starlings

For a fascinating understanding of how and why this Sturnidae family  are the world’s most iridescently plumed see – On the Origin of the Really Shiny Species


5 thoughts on “WPC: Dense

  1. A fascinating study, Laura. But sad that numbers are declining. I don’t even see ONE in my part of Much Wenlock – not in the garden, field margins or the allotment. In Kenya we used to see several species, all of them striking, though the Superb Starlings with their iridescent turquoise plumage were the commonest.

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