Murmuration of Gretna Green Starlings

Murmuration of Gretna Green Starlings post by jchip8

© Joan Thirlaway  “Ring Around the Moon”

Starlings in Winter
Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire

and instantly
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Murmuration long exposure © Joan Thirlaway  Starling Murmuration with a long exposure.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard.  I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbably beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays)
About the photographer: These photos are used with the kind permission of Joan Thirlaway, a very talented amateur photographer living in Gilsland, one of the Hadrian's Wall villages, in the UK.
Film--Immense magical murmuration of Spectacular Starlings and a single falcon over Gretna, Scotland
(I wept after reading this poem and watching this film. I am not afraid to admit it. I hope that you enjoy it. Peace and Light ~ Noelle)
Murmuration of Gretna Green Starlings


  1. This leaves me speechless! I have seen something like this twice in my life. It's so incredible that they were able to capture so much of the movement on video. It's like the smoke wafting up from a candle...or a moving Chinese brush stroke. Such incredible beauty made by the birds that somehow fly in an organic formation. Don't we live in a special world?

  2. Noelle that was stupendous so great in size and force that you remain stunned in awe. Nature is so kind to show us such sights and thank you for bringing it to us . The wave of birds paint such patterns across the sky and like the rush of a wave that billows, swells, falls and flows. A real masterpiece in nature and life.

    Thank you Noelle and love you for this fantastic post that one can watch over and over and still not have enough of it.

  3. Noelle, thank you! That was so wonderful: poem and movie!

  4. O, the glory of God in His creation! And the goodness of friends like you who find these gifts and share them.

    The poem, how wonderful...

  5. I am so very happy that you found it and enjoyed it Nanka. Your description makes it all the more beautiful! Thank you my dear for sharing it.

  6. So glad to share it Leslie. Such beauty makes one weep for joy. Share it with your mom. They say that mothers return as birds to visit their children. I believe that mine did last night. Such a joy.

  7. So happy it resonated with you, Jenny! Please share it if you like.

  8. Yes, Joanna, we do indeed and all the more so when someone with such an artistic and poetic sensibility offers her perception of it. Thank you for that my dear.

  9. I am speechless with awe from your post today. . . it makes me rethink my aversion to starlings.

  10. Dear Noelle. Your timing is always right. I won't say the poem made me cry but that's because there has been enough crying lately, instead it makes me glad of friends, with whom we can be a wheel of many parts, and leaving this frostbite. Looking forward to watching the video when not at work -- and with my housemate, another who loves the communion of birds


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