October 26, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Bird Ballet Revealed

Illustra’s latest short film displays a wonder of nature: the coordinated formation flights of thousands of birds.

Dense clouds of starlings dazzle viewers at twilight in certain parts of Europe and America. How do flocks of up to a million birds coordinate their flights and keep from colliding? The story is told in four minutes and 30 seconds in “Super Starlings” – the latest release from Illustra Media for The John 10:10 Project.

Viewers will recognize parts of the film from Flight: The Genius of Birds, a full-length documentary released by Illustra in 2013. This new standalone episode adds new facts and visuals, with a new script. Included also is new breathtaking footage of murmurations that seem impossible, with rapid turns in dense formations – and yet these common birds make formation flight look easy.


Fish Do It, Too

Schooling fish. Credit, Illustra Media, Living Waters

Coordinated motion by thousands of animals is also achieved underwater by fish. Researchers at the University of Kostanz in Germany are trying to answer the “age-old question of why fish school.” Scientists still don’t know why animals do this, or how. It appears that the fish save energy by coordinating the vortex created by neighboring fish. The researchers tested this by using robotic fish and measuring the energy used. But that may only be a partial answer. As with starlings, does coordinated motion provide protection from predators? Does it warm the animals? Is it a social activity for group cohesion? Or is it just pleasurable for animals equipped with superb physical and mental capabilities? One thing is certain: these ballets of animals arouse our awe and inspire scientific research.

Nobody does Christian nature films as professionally as Illustra, and they have worked hard this year. They released a dozen short films in the last ten months! These are all freely available on TheJohn1010Project.com. If you appreciate their efforts, please consider supporting them. You can sign up on their page to get news and access to additional resources.


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Categories: Amazing Facts, Birds

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