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Name: Elizabeth
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Yesterday (November 10) I was near Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. At about 4:30 PM, I saw a most amazing sight. Swarms and swarms of robin-sized black birds were flying north in a continuous stream. The birds did an amazing job of keeping in formation. I watched the swarming for at least 25 minutes. I've done a little reseach and I beleive these birds must have been starlings. Can you verify this? Were they migrating and, if so, why were they going north?



Replies:
These birds were probably starlings as was mentioned. They flock in the Midwest especially during harvest time in the fields. They will spend time in an area then move on south to warmer climates.

Steve Miller


This is most definitely Starlings. This bird is notorious for gathering in large flocks and travelling south in groups this time of year. They normally end up in Tenn. and south, and are greatly hated for the mess they leave in certain areas of the South because they congregate in large groupings. It has been a topic of heated discussion as to how to get these birds to leave populous areas that they spend the winter.

Steve Sample


Several species of blackbirds and European starlings will sometimes gather in large flocks in fall and winter, often in mixed flocks. Starlings would probably be the largest number in a flock the size and location you describe, but sometimes red-winged blackbirds will gather in the thousands too. Starlings don't migrate long distances, they often disperse somewhat during the day for feeding and then regather in the evening for communal roosting, so the direction they were flying is not necessarily significant.

J. Elliott



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