The dance of the starlings

 

Starlings rising

 
Earlier this year, in early January to be precise, I was in Jamnagar while on a trip to Gujarat. Now Jamnagar came into limelight because of the refineries of one of the biggest industries in India – Reliance Industries being setup there. It is not a regular tourist place but was just a stopover for us. (However, if you are interested in marine life, then there is a Marine National Park there, wherein one can walk on the seabed after the tide subsides and see the variety of marine life up, close and personal!). The owner of the hotel where we stayed, is very knowledgable and helpful if you ask him about what you can explore in the city while you are there. So he told us that we could see the temples and all but shouldn’t miss to see the dance of the starlings (migratory birds from Europe). For that, we were supposed to be at the Lakhota talav (lake) at sunset. We reached there, went to the temple nearby, came out, saw the lake and the city dwellers who came there everyday for walks around the lake. Nice music was playing. So the setting was perfect for a performance to begin. And then it began. A big group of birds started flying as a whole making interesting formations in the air as if swaying to the music. It was like a choreographed performance but who is the choreographer? We were mesmerized and didn’t leave until it became too dark to see. It was a fascinating experience of our trip.

And yesterday evening, looking out of my office window, I saw another performance of the same birds and my memory of the evening in January came gushing back and I had to write this post. Picture here is not so clear but you can find videos on the net about these birds.

It raises several questions as to what is the purpose of this “dance” and how do they do it, but for now, I will just savor the experience..

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