Sunday, October 3, 2004

Agent Starling

The birds are really out of control lately! This appears to be a huge flock of Starlings. We had the deck door open and heard what sounded like hundreds of thousands of them. I snapped this picture when something startled them and they took off.

(Get it? Startled them? Never mind)


  1. Hi!

    Fantastic shot! Did you know that there are 1,029 birds in that picture? We didn't either! I remember a time when I was working at John Vermuelen's when the sky was full of Starlings and Blackbirds for several hours one fall morning, heading south in migration. I have no idea how many went over but it easily amounted to tens of thousands. Isn't it interesting that birds find it advantageous to bunch up and head south all at once? Seems as if there could not be enough roosting space or food available for all during the trip. But then we will soon be bunching up and heading south as well....somewhat like the birds..... Can't wait to see you guys and do fun stuff!! Any chance we could ride on the new Deere....providing we don't hit the fence? Regards, M&D

  2. Did I count them? Did I count them? Did I count them?

    It all depends on what you mean by the word: "Count".

    Let's say I did a quality control sample of a block, which over time would represent the average number of birds passing over that area. Then I applied a mathematical technique borrowed from Monte Carlo Smoothing research to extend the sample to the whole. Assuming the number of birds passing by the sampled area to be within normal birding behavior constraints, eg. birds in migratory flight follow the matter what....I was able to determine a rational assessment of the probable number of birds in the entire migration. Well.........I guess I didn't count them in the usually accepted use of that term, but until someone successfully captures each of the birds that were actually in that migratory flight, My guess.......check that........My scientific determinism will suffice! DS