You are here:

Birding/Starling Maturation?

Advertisement


Question
In the last week or so I have noticed that at dusk in several areas of the town where I live hundreds of birds fly and swoop putting on quite a display like an in-air ballet.  I've heard that the birds are starlings and that it's called maturation but have not been able to confirm either so I would like to know.  Also, is this a seasonal thing that happens only in the fall? At the end of their show the birds all flock to a grouping of trees and chirp away --- the sound is deafening!  What is this ritual all about?

Answer
I have never heard of this called maturation. Starlings,crows, blackbirds, and others group during the fall and spend the winter together in roosts. In the spring they break up into pairs for breeding. The basic idea is that the birds are safer in groups during the non-breeding season. Young birds are of course maturing during this time but the groups really have nothing to do with that.

Birding

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Roger Lederer

Expertise

Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.

Experience

Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of Ornithology.com . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

Education/Credentials
PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.