Mesmerized by ‘Murmurations’: Watch This Aerial Ballet

Soren Solkaer knows how to wait for a shot.

“You wait for a week or two weeks and nothing happens. But then within a few seconds, everything changes, and the sky explodes,” he says. “It is one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced in my life.”

Solkaer captures starling murmurations (a flocking behavior) across Europe. Once you start watching his videos, the reason why it’s so exciting grows more clear.

Check out the undulating, overlapping shapes of the black-and-white “Black Sun.”

Or enjoy the less-dramatic but wider-screen pastel vibes of his latest work on LiveScience.

“The graphic and organic shapes of the starling murmurations range from meditative to highly dramatic as they perform their incredible ballet of life and death,” Solkær said in a statement to the outlet.

Starlings are the only birds that murmurate (so-called due to the sound the phenomenon makes). They seem to do it to ward off predators — but research into anything except the biomechanics of the display is in its early stages.

We’re content to watch. Especially through Solkaer’s lens. If you’re in the Seattle area, stop by the National Nordic Museum — his work will be on display there until March 10, 2024.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.