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.
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