Murmur: Photos by Richard Barnes
Photos of dense flocks of European starlings.
The birds are beloved by tourists and reviled by locals—understandably, since the droppings cover cars and streets, causing accidents and general disgust. A flock of starlings is euphoniously called a "murmuration," but there is nothing poetic about their appetites. Their ability to focus both eyes on a single object—binocular vision—allows them to peck up stationary seeds as well as insects on the move. Like us, the birds are enormously adaptable but what we admire in ourselves we often abhor in our neighbors.