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Starling Murmuration

Twilight is the show time in Aberystwyth Pier when the whole 50,000 starlings perform pre-roosting ballet in the sky


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The fun fact is that this small coastal town which hosts 50,000 starlings every winter, has only 16,000 townspeople, and half of them are students of Aberystwyth University.

It's a matter of a miracle that these birds choose Royal Pier in Aberystwyth to be their roosting point. This place in Wales is like Brighton Pier in England, or Gretna Green in Scotland, which boast their own colonies of wintering starlings, and it's truly inexplicable why the birds have chosen those places.

The spectacle begins in the twilight—at first, it's a small flock which grows bigger, and bigger until it becomes a huge cloud of birds. They dance in the sky for a while, and then the bird mass finally descend to roost under the pier.

In fact, Aberystwyth bird gathering involves both local population of starlings and some 10,000 of migratory birds from the Northern Europe which are fine with Wales' climate, and therefore, abandon the majority, that continues their journey to Southern Europe.

During the daytime the birds scatter in all directions to feed, often kilometers off Aberystwyth Pier, but come back with the dusk. Scientists explain that weird but beautiful behaviour named starling murmuration as a way to protect oneselves from predators. At the same time communal roosting allows them to keep warm at cool winter nights.

Wales' most striking natural phenomenon is observed over Aberystwyth Pier annually between November and February.

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