15 MARCH 1957, Page 27

Country Life


ALTHOUGH they are a common sight, I never cease to admire the wonderful capacity starlings have for acting in unison. I watched a flock of about 300 at the weekend when they had strung themselves along a power cable on either side of a high pylon. After a short time, about a third of the flock dropped down in ones and twos to feed on the pastures, and began working over the field as they always do. In the same fashion a further hundred or so of the flock formed a second party on another section. Soon the two groups drew near and finally one actually sailed over the other at the precise moment when this group rose and swirled away, undulating like a carpet in a draught as they crossed a fence. Before long the remaining birds on the wire were down feeding in a group of their own, and a time came when all three groups were swarming, wheeling with a precision that can only come from some sort of telepathy. What is it that makes 300 birds move as one without a second's hesitation? It always seems to me, when I see it, that we are rather slow in discovering some of our modern scientific wonders.