A Starling Tsunami

Anyone who regularly crosses open farmlands or the Great Plains of North America has surely witnessed spectacular starling ballets.  These aerial displays are, after all, one of the few reasons to appreciate the abundant European immigrants.

Today, on the plains east of Russell, Kansas, I observed what might be called a "starling tsunami" when a massive flock of starlings moved across the crop stubble, rising and falling in a rhythmic, wave-like motion.  Though I can't say with certainty, there must have been more than 5000 birds in that undulating black cloud.

Other sightings on the Great Plains included an unusually large number of prairie falcons in Eastern Colorado, 100 or more wild turkeys along the Republican River east of Flagler, Colorado, a large flock of Franklin's gulls west of Salina, Kansas, and a rough-legged hawk in the Flint Hills.  But those starlings, perhaps the most maligned birds in North America, provided the highlight of my journey.