Pictures capture extraordinary display by tens of thousands of starlings creating shapes in unison
It is one of the wonders of nature – thousands of starlings acting together as a single living creature, and yet no-one really knows why.
The extraordinary displays – called murmurations – often produce a variety of recognisable shapes with tens of thousands of birds gathering together to fly in unison.
The reason for the beautiful spectacle is not definitively known, with theories ranging from a defence mechanism against predators to a way of attracting more birds to join their winter roost.
Gretna is one of the most famous locations for gatherings of starlings in the world – and this week Press Association photographer Owen Humphrey captured a stunning display involving up to 50,000 birds.
A survey of the birds across the UK is currently taking place, with members of the public being encouraged to record any sightings they make.