Breathtaking murmurations fill the winter skies of southern Israel and surrounding areas with starlings which have migrated from Russia and parts of eastern Europe.
By grouping together, not only do the birds find safety in numbers but their changing movements and shifting collective shape confuses their would-be attackers, experts say. They can even create a sudden breeze with their synchronized movements, causing a hawk or falcon to fall flat on its back, not unlike an aircraft hitting windshear.
Until 20 years ago, starlings came to Israel in their millions, usually descending on the northern part of the Negev desert, which remains warm in winter. But for unknown reasons their numbers have dropped. In the past few years they have come in flocks of no more than a few hundred thousand.